With finals rapidly approaching, there is one day CSUN students should set aside to relax and take their minds off the impending exams, Cinco de Mayo.
Not to be confused with Mexico’s independence day, which is September 16, Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican heritage and culture in the U.S. This day also celebrates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French in 1862.
Much like Saint Patrick’s Day commemorates Irish tradition, this day is meant to celebrate the striking Mexican ancestry that coats Los Angeles, as well as its surrounding communities.
Individuals of Mexican descent account for 20 percent of the Latino population in L.A., according to the 2010 census. With such a distinguished population, students can easily find a celebration near them.
One option is a free walking tour through the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in downtown. The tour will include the block of historic buildings and the colorful Mexican alley marketplace often referred to as “La Placita Olvera.” The tours are scheduled to take place Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Olvera Street pedestrian zone. Besides the walking tours, there will be a traditional celebration with mariachis, folklorico dancers, piñatas and activities for kids. For more information students can visit www.elpueblo.lacity.org or call the information line at (213) 289-4641.
Virginia Park in the city of Santa Monica will join in the festivities Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. with their Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. Fiesta goers can enter their best salsa recipe into the homemade salsa tasting contest while they enjoy the live entertainment of mariachi music and folklorico dancers. The event will also feature a traditional fashion contest for those who want to exhibit their best traditional garment. Artisan crafts and traditional Mexican food will be available for purchase to accompany the live entertainment. To complete the celebration, games, rides and raffles will also be held. Enjoy a game of Loteria (a mexican game of chance, similar to bingo) to win prizes.
For those 21 and over looking for a more rambunctious night, join Lucha VaVoom at the Mayan Theatre for a night of authentic masked Mexican wrestling, striptease and comedy. Lucha VaVoom celebrates Cinco de Mayo carnival style with a donkey photo booth, giant conga lines and trapeze artists. There will be tamales, tequila and Aztec dancers. Lucha VaVoom also draws in some Chicano culture with their exhibition of lowriders. Tickets are $45 at the Lucha VaVoom website and will be available until the event sells out. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The 21-and-over options extend beyond just Lucha VaVoom with a Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl happening both Friday evening and all day Saturday. The crawl is $15 for access to all the bars included with registration taking place at the Pig n’ Whistle in Hollywood. By buying the tickets the reveler gets access to both days and amazing drink deals including $2 cervezas and 2-for-1 margaritas. Tickets can be purchased online or at the registration venue on either day of the crawl.
Whether students are looking for a peaceful, family-oriented night or a louder and more party-oriented Cinco de Mayo, set aside the day to celebrate the rich Mexican heritage that Los Angeles is known for.