Five girls will vie for the title of Cinco de Mayo Princess at the 2012 celebration of Hispanic culture on Saturday, May 5. The candidates met with sponsors on Tuesday to learn more about the opportunities and responsibilities that come with the title.
This year’s candidates are Sandra Hernandez, Miriam Marin, Maricruz Marin, Angelica Castro and Yahaira Martinez.
Above all, the Cinco de Mayo Princess serves as a role model for Hispanic pride, Mercedes Helms told the teenage girls from Great Bend High School and Great Bend Middle School who applied for the honor. They should be able to talk about their culture and history with confidence. The girls will probably do some fun things together and also some community service, such as visiting nursing homes, in the coming weeks, Helms said. And they’ll help develop the entertainment for the night of Friday, April 27, when the Cinco de Mayo Princess will be named during a program at 7 p.m. at the St. Rose Auditorium at 1412 Baker Ave.
This isn’t a beauty contest or a popularity contest, but it is a fun event, sponsors told the girls. A panel of five judges will chose the Cinco de Mayo Princess based on her presentation and poise, said Roberto Hernandez, regional manager of the English-Spanish newspaper La Voz and one of the Cinco de Mayo organizers. The winner will wear her tiara in the Cinco de Mayo Parade in downtown Great Bend on May 5.
In the Spanish language, Cinco de Mayo literally means “Fifth of May,” a holiday name similar to “Fourth of July” in the United States. But May 5 isn’t the Mexican Independence Day — that’s on Sept. 16. At 11 p.m. on Sept. 15, 1810, Father Hidalgo rang his church bell to call his parishioners, and rally them to fight off Spanish rule. His speech included the words “Mexicanos, viva Mexico!” (“Mexicans, long live Mexico!”).
Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory over an invading French army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1856. The smaller, poorly armed Mexican militia, with an estimated 4,500 men, defeated a well outfitted army of 6,500 French soldiers. While this is primarily a regional celebration in the Mexican state of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo has become a cultural holiday in the U.S.A. Festivals north of the Mexican border celebrate Mexico’s culture, food, music and customs