Cinco de Mayo dresses depict Mexican culture: Cinco de Mayo is a rich, symbolic tradition in Mexican culture. On May 5, 1862, Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French army against insurmountable odds in the Battle of Puebla. Months later, Mexican President Benito Juarez, declared the victory a national holiday.
The celebration activities include fiestas, parades and expressions of patriotism, according to the General Zaragoza Society. And the style of dress is an integral part of the festivities. The society, based in Goliad, hosted a pageant Saturday commemorating their heritage. Contestants wore dresses representing different states of Mexico.
Briana Flores embraced her Aztec gown from central Mexico, "It makes me feel proud, confidant," she said. The Goliad High School sophomore said her style of dress was worn during religious ceremonies. The thunderbird placed in the center is the patriot bird of war. Another contestant, Zoe Garcia, also has developed new-found confidence by embracing her roots in wardrobe. "It makes me feel pretty," she said.
Garcia, 14, has been in several similar pageants, such as the Guadalajara del Noche, sporting gowns that originate from the Mexican state of Jalisco. Her mother, Ana Garcia, said, "I wanted to keep the theme, but she's evolving."The Garcias purchased the dress from Li't Dove store in San Antonio.
Alma Badillo, whose husband owns the store, said she enjoys her job, "I have great pride because I get to work with my culture," she said. Badillo said regardless of region, the dresses are brightly-colored because they represent happiness.
Although Badillo said she likes the beauty aspect of Cinco de Mayo, she has not forgotten the historical context. "I feel very good because Mexico didn't have to depend on other countries anymore," she said.