Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob – Cinco de Mayo

Dear Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob: You have been so helpful telling me about the (so many!) holidays that are celebrated in the US. Some are more serious or religious, some seem to be all about having fun. Now I have heard from friends (and seen a few advertisements) about another “day” coming up soon…Cinqo de Mayo. What can you tell me about that?

 

Uncle Bob: What? Cinqo de Mayo? The only Mayo I know is the mayonnaise that Louise puts on my sandwiches. And while we celebrate a lot here in the US, I don’t think a holiday for a sandwich spread is what this is about. Louise, can you help me out here?

Aunt Louise: Of course, dear. The translation from Spanish of Cinqo de Mayo is simply the “5th of May”. Way back in 1862, the Mexican army had a surprise victory in a battle against the French (sadly it seems we humans are always at war with one another). The Battle of Puebla occurred on May 5th under the leadership General Ignacio Zaragoza. So in Mexico, the day is about ceremonial commemoration of that battle, usually with military parades. Keep in mind though, that this is not the same as Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16th.

Uncle Bob: Now that you mention it, I do remember our nieces in Texas talking about celebrating it there. Are there parades and military events here? I don’t seem to recall any.

Aunt Louise: No, Cinqo de Mayo in the US is celebrated differently, and it did become popular with Americans in our western states first. (You may see some women wearing the pretty flower-embroidered Mexican shirts and dresses—my sister Flo has one!) On May 5th people of all different nationalities and backgrounds like to celebrate Mexican-American culture. And in most cultures, celebrations include food and drink and music. So folks like to go out and eat some tasty Mexican food, and many of them like to drink margaritas or Mexican beer and listen to traditional music. It is a festive and joyful day. So take advantage of the American experience of celebrating its southwestern neighbor.

Uncle Bob: So since it will probably be jam-packed on May 5, maybe you and I should go on down to El Sombrero, our favorite Mexican restaurant, a little early, Louise. What do you think?

Aunt Louise: Si Senor…which means “yes sir”!

 

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