Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everybody Loves Cinco de Mayo

ketchup with us
I am participating in Mel and Michele's Ketchup With Us which is allowing us to link up for the last(?!!!) time.  I regret that I've been too busy to write anything in a while, but I wanted to say goodbye and to offer a piece I wrote about a year ago in honor of Mexico's Independence Day (September 16).  I hope to see you guys soon!

As I listened to the crowd shout: “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!” on Mexico's Independence Day, I wondered why most people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence day.  
“El Grito de la Indepencia” (the Cry of Independence) was first heard in the small town of Delores, Mexico on September 16, 1810.  The actual date of Mexico’s independence from Spain did not occur until September 28, 1821, over a decade later; however, like the U.S., it is the date of the declaration of independence that is celebrated. 

So, what is Cinco de Mayo?  That date commemorates the improbable Mexican victory over the much larger French army on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Puebla. Indeed, some said the Mexicans were doomed on the day they took on the French and it wasn’t until four years later that the French finally withdrew from Mexico.

While Cinco de Mayo is a day of celebration, it is not a Mexican national holiday, nor is it widely celebrated in Mexico.  It is mainly celebrated by Mexicans who live in the state of Puebla (hooray for the home team!) and, of course, “sympathetic” Americans who enjoy pounding down a few beers in support of the “cause.”  

Ok then, why is Cinco de Mayo such a big deal?  As I pictured all those gringos downing their Coronas with limes jammed in the bottlenecks, I started wondering whether Corona was hoping to promote sales and created this “national holiday”.  After all, didn’t some greeting card company invent Mother’s and Father’s Days?  And it dawned on me that, “Dieciséis de Septiembre” (September 16) is not nearly as catchy as, “Cinco de Mayo.”

Ok, Corona, tell us the truth.  It was a big marketing campaign, right?  I can picture those big inflated Corona bottles bouncing around every Mexican restaurant on May 5th.  It’s cool, you can tell us.  Everybody loves Cinco de Mayo.