Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day in America
We Americans are a strange brew (No pun intended). Seems that we love to celebrate something. Fact is, we don’t even have to celebrate a holiday or special day just to celebrate. If the day on the calendar doesn’t list an important date, we’ll write in our own. “Hey! I have bed-head hair day! Let’s celebrate!”
See, More Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo than those of Mexican descent. We Americans, for the most part, don’t even know what Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) represents. All we know is that it is a day to celebrate. Probably those of Mexican heritage living in America wouldn’t celebrate the day either, if they weren’t living in the country of celebrations.
If you asked the average citizen of the US what the day “Cinco de Mayo” represented, they would probably state that they, “Think it’s Mexican Independence Day!” Doing so would mean that they have to look into the camera and say, “I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader!”
Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the day the Mexican army subdued French forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Mexican Independence Day is officially celebrated on September 16. But even that is not the actual day the country became independent. September 16th is the commemorative anniversary of the historic event when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla uttered the war cry for Mexican War of Independence on September 16, 1810.
I had a former (non-Hispanic) co-worker who used to claim that she celebrated the day because it was an occasion for the Americans to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride. Actually, I think that it was because Corona Lights went on sale. The day began its popularity among the inhabitants of the California region and like fire ants it has spread to most of the nation.
After some exhaustive research as to the history behind the spread of Cinco de Mayo celebration fame across this country, I found that there was a certain army led by one General Jose Cuervo and his second in command Light Col. Corona. This small detachment of soldiers consisted of: Captains Dos Equis, Pacifico, Tecate, and Negra Modelo.
There were several Lieutenants: Corona, Sol, and one female lieutenant Victoria. These were great leaders over: Sargents Modelo (He was Especial), Bohemia, and Carta Blanca. Faithfully following them were the fearless solders: Indio, Cerveza the Superior, Leon, Salitos, Barrilito, Cucapa Trigue, and Tijuana Morena.
One small band of solders whose mission was to take up the rear guard consisted of: Tijuana Guera, Cucapa Obscura, and his brother, Cucapa Clasica.
Like those fire ants mentioned earlier, they began to defeat their enemies, by slowing spreading their influence to those hanging around convenience stores, restaurants, and local bars, and be-friending the locals. As their popularity with the residents of each locale began to grow so did their fame across America. (I think my former co-worker fell in love with Light Col. Corona… because she was always under his influence.)
The last I heard, General Jose Cuervo’s popularity grew so much that he became “frozen” in time. His lovely wife, Margarita told historians that her husband, the general, brought out the best in her, which made her very popular with the ladies.
So, when someone asks you, if you know why we Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo, you can either tell them the historical facts, as I have given them to you, or you can just say, “Jose Cuervo was a friend of mine.”