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Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

Date: May 05 2006


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

On this day in 1852, a large French army tried to capture Mexico City. However, they were defeated by a small but determined Mexican army in what is known as the Battle of Puebla.

Now, Cinco de Mayo (“the fifth of May”) is celebrated in Mexico – and among Mexican-Americans in the U.S. – to commemorate the victory.

Listen to John and Emily talk about Cinco de Mayo.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





John:  Are you going to any Cinco de Mayo parties?

Emily:  I’m not. I don’t have anything planned. What about you?

John:  I’m not this year. You know, I got burned one time, actually.

Emily:  What happened?

John:  Well, I thought Cinco de Mayo was this big party to celebrate something about Mexico, and so I planned a trip down to San Diego around the fifth of May so I could go across the border and experience the real Cinco de Mayo.

Emily:  But? What happened?

John:  But, when I got there, you know, there was a big party in San Diego, but when we went across to Mexico, there was nothing there. Cinco de Mayo didn’t originate from Mexico. It’s some holiday the U.S. has made up.

Emily:  That’s very strange. I wasn’t aware of that.

John:  Did you assume that it was kind of a Spanish, a Spanish holiday?

Emily:  I’m pretty sure we talked about it in Spanish class.



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The U.S. has a habit of adopting holidays and celebrations of other cultures. For example, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are larger in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, including Ireland.

In Los Angeles and other cities with large Chicano populations, Cinco de Mayo is a major celebration. Thousands of people pour into the streets to celebrate Mexican culture and the victory of the Mexican army over the French army.


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