WASHINGTON, DC - Thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the Cinco de Mayo 2005 celebration featuring live music, dancing, food and workshops for children. Mexican vocalist Susana Harp, Orquesta La Romana and the Maru Montero Dance Company were featured performers at the free event celebrating the Latin family on Mother's Day, May 8.
The sky was deep blue, the sun was shining and the spirits were high for the all-day festival held just steps from the U.S. Capitol dome and the museums of the Smithsonian Institution. Some people spent the day sitting on the cool grass beneath the main stage being entertained by singers and dancers, while others played Mexican games and learned crafts or helped children make their own piñatas and toys.
"Cinco de Mayo is a day of celebration for the whole family and for people from all countries," said Maru Montero, founder of the annual event and director of the Maru Montero Dance Company. Montero, a former dancer with the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, brought the Cinco de Mayo tradition to Washington, D.C., almost 15 years ago. Her goal for the festival is to "educate and entertain," and each year Montero strives to expand the boundaries and imagery of the holiday.
In 2001, partnering with the Organization of American States, Montero created a Mexican village in the heart of the nation's capital, complete with food, live performances, and artisans. The celebration in 2002, "Celebre la Ciencia" (Celebrate the Sciences), was a collaborative effort with National Science Foundation's Nationwide Science Project. Drawing 10,000 people to the grounds of the Washington Monument for a day of music, dance troupes and children's games, special activities were featured to increase interest among Hispanic students in science and math.
This year's theme, "Celebre la Familia" ("Celebrate the Family"), honored the traditions of the Latin American family. Held near the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall, the festival featured games and activities for children, such as making paper puppets and playing La Loteria, the Mexican version of bingo. Educational workshops taught about the Spanish language and Latino culture.
DESHO Productions was the event management company for Cinco de Mayo. DESHO President Aisha Davis called the event a huge success and has begun planning for Cinco de Mayo 2006. DESHO Productions creates exciting cultural events around the world. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DESHO Productions has offices in Tokyo and Eastern Europe. A Mexican national holiday, Cinco de Mayo ("5th of May") originated as a tribute to the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when Mexican soldiers defeated the larger, more powerful French army. Since then, it has become an event celebrated not only in Mexico, but also in U.S. metropolitan areas with large Latin American populations, including the nation's capital.
For more information, contact Aisha Davis at DESHO Productions, (202) 508-1045 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.marumontero.com or email Maru Montero at email@example.com.
D.C. families celebrate mothers, Mexico Holidays come together on the National Mall (Washington Examiner, Sunday, May 8, 2005, by Anna Bailey)