Well, it’s just about that time for the piracy of another nation’s holiday by America… Oh. Did I say that out loud? I know what you’re thinking:
“What-what-WHAT! Who does this guy think he is?! How dare he insult those American with Mexican heritage?! Let’s lynch him!”
But before you break out the pitchforks and burning torches, hear me out for a minute:
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not the celebration of Mexican Independence Day. Nope – for 2011 that’ll be Friday, September 16th 2011, and that days official names are Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”) or El Grito de la Independencia (“Cry of Independence). “Grito” refers to the battle cry uttered by a Roman Catholic priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla from the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato, before the Mexican War of Independence in 1810.
[pullquote quote=”At least you now know you have TWO opportunities to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride this year!”]So what’s Cinco de Mayo all about then?
Cinco de Mayo (“May 5th”) is celebrated primarily in the Mexican state of Puebla and the United States. The date itself commemorates the Mexican army’s unexpected victory over occupying French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.
Mexicans and those of Latin-American descent living in California during the American Civil War are credited with being the first to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States. These groups continue to observe the day as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.
And let’s face it, Mexico knows how to party. Unfortunately – as with any good public celebration - alcohol companies saw an opportunity and (like St. Patrick’s Day) co-opted the festivities as a drinking holiday. Suddenly, we’re expected to imbibe to excess and (for those a little older than college drinking age) the date is usually accompanied by embarrassing memories involving tequila, pinatas and a distinct lack of clothing. Or maybe that’s just me? ANYWAY…
These days, with little significance in Mexico itself, Cinco de Mayo doesn’t even register on the list of Mexico Statutory Public Holidays. The closest holiday is “Dia del Trabajo,” or “Labor Day” which commemorates the Mexican workers’ union movements.
What A Party Pooper!
I know, but it’s okay – at least you now know you have TWO opportunities to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride this year – Dieciséis de Septembre’s gonna be off the hook! And no one’s saying you can’t have a cerveza or three this Cinco de Mayo, just don’t forget those culinary delights from south of the border either – those are mandatory!