CINCO DE MAYO COMES TO OUR SCHOOL.
Many believe that El Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. Well, let’s clarify that! Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th and not May 5th. So, what is El Cinco de Mayo? It’s actually Battle of Puebla Day, acknowledging a victory in 1862 over the French forces of Napoleon III.
A year earlier, Mexico president Benito Juarez stopped paying his financial obligation to powerful European countries. England and Spain debts were settled; instead France decided to retaliate by attacking the Mexicans assuming that they were weak. The French also believed that by easily winning this battle, they could establish a French colony in Mexico. As you know, the Mexicans poorly armed and in the minority triumphed by winning. The victory of this battle brought pride among the Mexican citizens and showed the country’s unity.
Every year, students from one of the best Monmouth County private school celebrate this holiday. At Oak Hill we start by learning that El Cinco de Mayo is not a major national holiday in Mexico. What happened in Puebla on May 5, 1862, is what this day really presents for Mexico and the Mexican people and how it’s celebrated in Mexico.
The 8th grade students at Oak Hill Academy, a New Jersey independent school, celebrates El Cinco de Mayo by incorporating many cultural features of the Spanish Speaking Countries. How do we do that? Each year we choose a cultural topic like literature, arts, poetry, historical sites, landmarks, lost civilizations, dances, music and students form groups to research their topic(s). They write essays with their findings, make informative posters to support their essays, make power point presentations of photos related to their project, reproduce historical sites like La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, dress up like the famous poets Federico García Lorca or Octavio Paz, dress up resembling the artists Salvador Dalí and Diego Rivera or characters of Don Quijote de la Mancha to celebrate figures in Spanish literature.
In addition, on El Cinco de Mayo, the students present all their work to their peers and entertain their audience by performing Spanish dances, singing Spanish songs, etc.
Furthermore, we have a salsa contest which everyone enjoys tasting and has a challenging time choosing the winner.
At Oak Hill Academy one of the best private schools in New Jersey, students are exposed to a very diversified cultural curriculum where they can appreciate the Spanish language, its culture and enrich their knowledge.