Today is May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, which will be celebrated throughout the country as some sort of universal Latino holiday. The revelry started last Friday in many cities, with the mistaken thought that they are celebrating Mexican Independence Day. There are parties and festivals and awards and happy hours and special dishes and discounts … and so much more.
I don’t discount the significance of having a Latino holiday celebrated on a national level in the US. I’m glad we have something more than Hispanic Heritage Month, the ascending Día de los Niños and Día de los Muertos. Even though no one seems to make it past the drinking games and parties, Cinco de Mayo is significant.
A brief history of the history of Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín (according to my history class and Wikipedia). The Mexican army was comprised of 4,000 Mexican soldiers and they were greatly outnumbered by the well-equipped French army by nearly double; it’s important to note that the French army had not been defeated for almost 50 years.
And, by the way, since this battle no European force has invaded a country on the American continent.
Toast to that today.
(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED May 5, 2015.)