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The Truth About Cinco De Mayo


Today is Cinco De Mayo, and all across the country Latinos and non-Latinos alike will be drinking margaritas until they puke. Much like St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate Irishness, Cinco De Mayo has become a national day of Mexican pride. Over the years, Cinco De Mayo has come to be a celebration of all things Latino. In offices all over the country, people from Peru or the Dominican Republic will be greeted with a “Happy Cinco De Mayo, amigo!” But we bet if you surveyed the people on the street that are still sober tonight, 9 out of 10 won’t know what the hell Cinco De Mayo is commemorating. So, we thought we’d dispel some myths about the 5th of May.

It’s Mexican Independence Day

Nope. Mexican Independence day is September 16th. This is the day that Miguel Hidalgo did the famous “Grito”, where he urged Mexicans to rise up against the Spanish colonial government. What Cinco De Mayo actually celebrates is a victory by the Mexicans against the French that later colonized Mexico. This occurred on the 5th of May, 1862 in the battle of Puebla, when a rag-tag group of Mexicans defeated the mighty French army. So, remember: September 16th=Mexicans tell the Spanish to get lost, May 5th=Kicking some Frenchy butt.

It is celebrated all over Mexico

Not really. In Mexico it is more of a regional holiday. Primarily, it’s celebrated in Puebla where the actual battle took place. In the rest of Mexico, they could honestly give a crap. Again, September 16th is the big day of celebration. It”s like our July 4th, except with less hot dogs and more tamales. Although, on both holidays Americans and Mexicans alike blow stuff up. So, we have that in common.

It’s national Latino Pride Day

Well, it really isn’t. It commemorates a specific event in Mexican history. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Puerto Rico, Cuba, or anywhere else. The confusion probably has to do with the tendency of a lot of Americans to lump us all into a big brown ball. They think that if you cross the border, Mexico keeps going until you hit Tierra Del Fuego. While we all share a common language and history of Spanish colonial rule, every country is different. We all have our own identity, customs, music, and culture. Go ahead, test your friends to see if they can find Venezuela on a map. Come to think of it, your Latino friends may fail that too.

It’s just an excuse to get drunk

Ok, well…we’ll give you that one. Much like St. Patty’s Day and Mardi Gras, Americans think it gives them permission to drink to excess. We say, why do you need an excuse? Isn’t the fact that life is hard enough of a reason? If you want to get drunk because it’s Thursday, go ahead. We won’t judge.

It is only celebrated in the Southwest

Not true. Cinco De Mayo is big all over the country, even in places like Iowa where there are, like, two Mexicans. New York, Boston, Seattle, and so on, all have big Cinco De Mayo celebrations. The truth is that it is more of an American holiday these days. Just another day marked in bold letters on your calendar. So, why not fire up that margarita machine and get sloshed? It’s downright un-American not to.

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