Cinco de Mayo

Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is not, in fact, Mexican Independence Day? (I didn’t.) It’s interesting that most of us in the United States think of it as such, maybe because we think any holiday with that much hype must be a celebration of independence. The funny thing is that Cinco de Mayo is not a big a deal in Mexico…except maybe in Puebla, a small town southeast of Mexico City.

1901 Cinco de Mayo poster, courtesy of Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

Back in 1861, Mexico temporarily stopped paying its foreign debts (clearly not Lannisters), so England, Spain, and France invaded the country to get their money back. By 1862, France was still mowing through Mexico and its vast army reached Puebla on May 5th. Even though the city’s forces were ill-equipped, they stood against the French army. The battle became a symbol of resistance to foreign domination.

Mexico’s Independence day is September 16th. That’s the day Father Miguel Hidalgo told his church parishioners to rise up with him against the tyranny of Spain and claim Mexico’s independence.

Mexican restaurants are really crowded on May 5th, but on September 16th? Not so much! This year I’m thinking about skipping Cinco de Mayo in favor of the real Mexican Independence Day.

I say this now, but I do love Mexican food…and that margarita looks really yummy…

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