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Monday, May 05, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Ahhh...Cinco de Mayo. The day we Americans celebrate Mexican Independence Day by throwing parties, quaffing margaritas, tequila or Modelo beer and enjoying a fun super tasty South of The Border feast.

But that's not entirely correct. There's lots of fun parties and the alcohol does flow freely. The food is always marvelous and super tasty.

Yet Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican independence day. That's September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is in fact, more of an American holiday than a Mexican one. And one that deserves more recognition than it gets.

Cinco de Mayo's roots begin during the French occupation of Mexico. Mexico at the time was in a real mess. They had 15 years of wars (The Mexican-American War, The Mexican Civil War and The Reform War) and everybody was getting tired of it. Finally in 1861, Mexican President Benito Juarez told Britain, Spain and France to hold off on their debt collection for these wars for two years until they can financially reorganize and get the country back on track.

They sent armies to confront Mexico and collect their debts regardless. Britain and Spain negotiated and backed off. But the French, under the rule of Napoleon III would not hear of it and another war began. Napoleon III wanted to turn Mexico into a French territory and since the Americans at the time were in an ugly civil war, he thought he could establish a strong enough foothold in Mexico, which he could then use to invade America (which was still a very small, very rural country at the time.) By using the Confederate South as proxies.

Napoleon sent 8,000 troops to attack Mexico's 4,500 troops at Veracruz. But on May 5, 1862, the much smaller Mexican army sent the French into retreat. The news reached the border communities of America where people celebrated the news.

While there would be more fighting, a major turning point had begun. Had Napoleon III defeated the Mexicans at Veracruz, the Civil War could have ended very differently.

So Cinco de Mayo is very much an American holiday. (More on Cinco de Mayo)

It was the expanding Latino communities that brought the holiday across America. But it was beer companies in the '80s that helped bring Cinco de Mayo into the American mainstream.

Because if there's one thing everyone LOVES, it's to party.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


  1. The holiday is basically celebrated here in NYC by illegals from Puebla, and I don't think it's going to be very popular with non-Mexicans in the US in the future.
    The stories about the California court ruling against US flag T-shirts, and Dartmouth College having to cancel a Cinco de Mayo-based hospital fundraiser (because one "undocumented" Mexican student wrote to the President and condemned the event as "racist" even though the student organizers were "culturally diverse") have traveled all over the US this past month via social media, and have affected even borderline-patriotic citizens (it's not just Tea Party Conservatives, it's normal, run-of-the-mill people).
    The suggestion to change the day to N.A.I.L.E.D. (National American Immigration Law Enforcement Day) is getting tons of "likes" and they're still coming in from all over -- not a good sign.
    If you want to see some of the Tweets from the Mexican students at the California HS, scroll down here: http://toprightnews.com/?p=2897
    Here's on synopsis on The Darmouth College situation (and they weren't even going to serve alcohol!): http://gopthedailydose.com/2014/04/26/pc-neutering-continues-in-amerika-fiesta-the-new-f-word-for-w-people/
    So, if you're not Hispanic, don't plan a Cinco de Mayo party unless you want half your neighbors to hate you, and the other half to call you a racist. This doesn't look like a situation that's going to cool down any time soon.
    (PS - I know the links are from Republican sources, but those are a lot easier to direct you to than the social media pages.)

  2. Wrong Napoleon....famous Napoleon having died in 1821.....

    1. You're right. It was Napoleon III. Thanks for the correction.


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