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Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Xander celebrates Cinco de Mayo with 123 Andrés, a musical group composed of Andrés Salguero and his wife, Christina Sanabria.

May 5, or Cinco de Mayo, commemorates Mexican culture and heritage. The popularity of the day spread in the 1960s by Chicanos (Americans of Mexican ancestry) living in California. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about Cinco de Mayo is that it is a celebration of Mexican independence. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over France on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. Mexican Independence Day is actually celebrated on September 16, which recognizes the day in 1980 that Mexico began a war for independence from Spain.

To experience a Cinco de Mayo celebration firsthand, I caught up with the Latin Grammy-winning band, Uno, Dos, Tres Andrés (123 Andrés), in Fairfax, Virginia. The husband and wife duo, Andrés Salguero and Christina Sanabria, staged a live performance at a local restaurant with other musicians celebrating Mexican culture.

Salguero and Sanabria, who are of Colombian heritage, sing in both Spanish and English. One of their most popular songs tells a story about community helpers in an illustrated book called ¡Mi Comunidad! My Community! (Scholastic, 2021).


Salguero and Sanabria sing in both Spanish and English.


Salguero said that Mexican music is known around the world, starting with mariachi bands. “There is a tradition that you use a mariachi band when you want to serenade someone,” he explained.

Other Mexican music can also be heard at Cinco de Mayo celebrations. “There’s a new genre called Banda,” Salguero said. “It has all these brass instruments. It’s loud and fun. There’s something about music and culture that is connected throughout the world.”

During the performance, the duo sang “La Bamba.” The traditional Mexican folk song was made famous in the 1950s by the late Ritchie Valens, a teenage performer.

“We also performed one of our songs, ‘No me puedo sentar (I can’t sit down),’” Sanabria said, “in the Banda style that Andrés mentioned.” 

With their performance, 123 Andres wanted to remind people what Cinco de Mayo represents. “It’s a moment,” Salguero said, “to celebrate Mexican culture with respect and admiration.”

Top photo courtesy of the author; bottom photo: Dario Treviño