Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Know What You're Celebrating

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

It's that time of year to throw back a couple of cervezas and perhaps a few shots of tequila as well. Break out the guacamole, the chips and salsa, and don't forget the aspirin, because you're gonna be hurting come morning. Much like St. Patrick's Day, we don't always know what we're celebrating, but we see this as a day to celebrate everything Mexican; the food, the culture, the beer, the music, the tequila, the beer, the beer...

Now I don't want to be one of those douches that thinks Americans blow Cinco de Mayo way out of proportion, and who complains that we just steal other people's holidays and bastardize them as an excuse to drink. But personally, I do like to know what I'm celebrating.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, the Fifth of May does NOT commemorate Mexico's independence. That would be September 16th. The 5th commemorates the Battle of Puebla, which in 1862 is when a small Mexican force defeated a much larger and more powerful invading French force (there's a contradiction in terms for you).

Here is the kicker: Cinco de Mayo is not a Mexican holiday. It's American. No, I don't mean the fact that we as Americans make a bigger deal out of it than they do in Mexico. I mean, it is an American holiday, as in it started in America. The origins of the celebration come out of California. By 1862 California had already seceded from Mexico, and had been a US State for nearly 12 years. But that doesn't mean they didn't still hold some kinship to their motherland. Eventually the French would succeed in occupying Mexico, and the people of California began celebrating the one big victory the Mexican people had, as a show of support for the Mexican cause and a mutual hatred of the French.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is only really celebrated hardcore in the local of Puebla. The rest of Mexico typically sees it as a holiday equivalent to how we American's see Columbus Day as a holiday.

So there is your little history lesson for the day. And the next time someone complains about how we Americans treat the Fifth of May, you tell them the truth (and be sure to call them a douche). So join me today, raise a drink, and let us celebrate this truly American of holidays.

Una cerveza y un tequila, por favor!

1 comment:

  1. I have to thank B James for the pics. He really helped me out in a jam.