Happy Cinco de Mayo, Shreveport. Before we break out the piñatas, there are a few things we need to get straight. Listen up, and you may learn something.
1. Cinco de Mayo literally means “5th of May.”
Please don’t laugh at this. There are those out there who don’t know this. I was once at a friendly gathering one April evening, and some folks were planning and talking about a Cinco de Mayo fiesta they were planning. As they talked about the margarita machine and piñatas and all the fun that would be had, one excited invitee – who won’t be named – exclaimed, “A Cinco de Mayo party sounds so fun! When is that? June??” They live and walk among us. You’ve been warned.
2. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day.
Our neighbors south of the border do not mark the 5th of May as their day of Independence over Spain. “Grito de Delores”, celebrated on September 16, is the Mexcian Independence. So why don’t we celebrate Grito de Delores? Just an opinion here: Cinco de Mayo is a little easier to pronounce, thus it is more marketable. Thanks, beer companies.
3. The real Reason for the Season:
According to the Internet (Wikipedia), Cinco de Mayo originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Outside of the Mexican state of Puebla, there is little recognition of the holiday in Mexico. So in a way, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday in the way On the Border is a Mexican restaurant.
4. America might not have been America without Cinco de Mayo.
Had the out-numbered Mexicans not defeated the French on the 5th of May in 1862 (they didn’t actually get completely rid of the French until 1867), some historians argue that the French would have gone to the aid of the South in the Civil War (which, if you’re not aware by now, was going down at the same time) in an attempt to break apart our country. Without Cinco de Mayo, America’s destiny could’ve been drastically different. Yay ‘Merica!
5. 87 million pounds of avocados will be eaten today.
Holy guacamole. That’s about 3 pounds per American citizen with Mexican ancestry.
So now you know. Now go to Superior, order a frozen, and drop some conocimiento (knowledge) on your amigos (friends).