Cinco De Mayo.
It is more than the push from Taco Bell to sell more burritos. No, translated, it is the Fifth of May. Today. But here, in America, pockets of people celebrate this day five. Here in America, where our pot melts things faster than butter on a hot skillet. As indicated by the name, this part has Mexican Origins.
So we, who cheer on St. Patrick’s Day, and then have the long wait until July Fourth, our Independence Day, look for the in-between filler. Kind of like the creamy-center, wedged between the two outer shells of an Oreo Cookie.
Cinco De Mayo.
It is often misunderstood. Most people just think it is a Mexican HooHa. A party with Corona Beer and lime, chips, and salsa. Music. Dancing. Napping. Which doesn’t sound so bad, all and all?
But there is history there. Precisely, the Battle of Puebla. I always have to look up the details on this. You see, I can’t get it stuck in my brain, most likely because I am not Mexican. I sprout from the German side of things. But here goes my version of Mexican History.
On May 5, 1862, an unorganized and unruly Mexican army, defeated the Big-Mean-Goliaths of the Second French Empire. Now, hold on to your sombreros. The battle itself did not decide the war. Not at all. In fact, the French returned to capture Puebla and Mexico City in 1863.
And, it didn’t roll on so well for the Mexican Army from there. France controlled Mexico until 1867. And then, finally, FINALLY, the Mexican troops overthrew their government and returned to being an independent republic.
But the Battle of Puebla had its high points, and merits. The French Army was big, and strong, and they had better guns and nicer hats. They were making there way to Mexico City. Not for sightseeing, but for overthrowing. So the French were moving through the southern territory of Puebla, when all of a sudden, out jumps the wily Mexican Army guys. Apparently, they were pissed. They were probably shouting Mexican phrases, like, “Vamos a patearte los traseros.” Or… “We are going to kick your butts. “
And they did. They beat the snot out of the French on that day. And the French retreated. Vamoose, like.
That one defeat generated a whole bunch of high-fives amid the Mexicans. So much, that it restored their national pride. And this, to a country that had been torn apart by civil war and foreign invasions for decades. Actually, more like centuries, but who is counting. So.
So. So. So. To this day it has become a big celebration throughout the entire continent. Spanning the globe, up here, to the “United States of We Love A Good Party.”
I went to one such Cinco De Mayo Party. It was held at the Gym at Eagles Point. It was for kids 5 to 10 years old, and it only cost $1 to get in. There were tacos, burritos, cakes, and prizes. Cake walks, dancing, piñata punching, and story telling. Arts and crafts and fine, fine fun. It was put on by The Star Theatre at Eagles Point. Yet another BIG GEM in our community.
A celebration of history and diversity.
Which finally brings me to this. Happy Cinco De Mayo. Pronounced MY-OH. Not like, I’ll have the Turkey, with Swiss, and Mayo. Those are two entirely different countries.
“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. ”
― Michael Crichton
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”
― Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays