As a Texas girl, I grew up engulfed in the TexMex culture. Good Mexican food was always easy to find, there were at least 20 different Spanish stations on the local radio and my perception of Mexico was just slightly skewed. It wasn’t until I was much older when I realized Cinco de Mayo wasn’t a giant fiesta in Mexico and contrary to popular belief it wasn’t Mexican Independence day (Sept. 16, 1821)
For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, Cinco de Mayo means the 5th of May. And instead of celebrating independence of Spain, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration over the Mexican win over France in the Battle of Puebla.
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the Mexican culture in general. Most celebrations are accompanied by food, mariachi music and dancing. In Mexico, though, the celebration is more regional than it is national. It is a victory for the state of Puebla, and their culture.
“For Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is about our past, our history, our heritage. For Americans, Cinco de Mayo is for your future, for your present,” said Alejandro Canedo Priesca secretary of tourism in Puebla in an interview with The Huffington Post.
So if you’re enjoying good Mexican food today or you attend a Cinco de Mayo celebration, keep in my why you’re celebrating. It is not about the Spanish or the Americans or even the French. Cinco de Mayo is the victory of a small Mexican militia over the invading French army.
For me, Cinco de Mayo is a reminder of hope in an unlikely situation.
Joven y happy,