Latino cultural traditions have a social and psychological impact on Nevada’s Latino community. Traditional mariachi and conjunto bands perform at the annual Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day celebrations at multiple venues throughout the state, including Reno in northern Nevada, and Henderson and Las Vegas in southern Nevada.4 These two Mexican holidays have become a part of Nevada’s culture as a whole; so much so that some accused the liquor industry of usurping the holidays to sell more alcoholic beverages. For Latino families, though, these celebrations allow Latino working families to unwind, exchange information, and commiserate with each other.
Mexican charro rider at a parade celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Week, an annual event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Courtesy of Irma Varela-Wynants.
Fiestas celebrating Latino holidays act to ward off assimilation by reinforcing Latino culture a strong, vibrant culture constantly reinforced by the large number of migrants reaching Nevada. Money generated at these events supports various Latino religious, political, and social organizations throughout the state.
On Mexican holidays the booking of events that include Latinos such as boxing matches with Latino fighters at Las Vegas hotels is obligatory. The ticket prices for these events are exorbitant; one has to be fairly well-off to afford them. As such, these events bring to Las Vegas wealthy Mexicans as well as affluent Latinos from other states. For example, on Mexican Independence Day in 2006 the crooner Juan Gabriel sang at Caesars Palace, traditional bal-ladeer Alejandro Fernandez performed at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Latino rock band Jagaures performed at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, Cuban singer Jon Secada sang at the Las Vegas Hilton, and the Mexican bal-ladeer Aguilar played at the Mandalay. Moreover, the Las Vegas International Mariachi Festival has put the Las Vegas Strip on the map as a Mexican Independence Day mecca.
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