Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo...



...... to all my Chica's and Chico's from Blogville!

If you're anything like me, Cinco de Mayo was another great reason for having a party, or meeting people after work for a delicious margarita ..YUM.
Of course there is a story and usually a history lesson behind these special days of remembrance and I decided this year that it was time for me to learn this history
So I guess I will pass up the party this year and my getting together with co- workers. ( I work from home now, so my only co-worker during the day is Gracie and just between you and me, Gracie's favorite beverage is milk.)

Here is what I learned from my favorite search engine, Google.

"Cinco de Mayo is a date of great importance for the Mexican and Chicano communities. It marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla. Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that Mexico and all of Latin America were willing to defend themselves of any foreign intervention. Especially those from imperialist states bent on world conquest.
Cinco de Mayo's history has its roots in the French Occupation of Mexico. The French occupation took shape in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. With this war, Mexico entered a period of national crisis during the 1850's. Years of not only fighting the Americans but also a Civil War, had left Mexico devastated and bankrupt. On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for a brief period of two years, with the promise that after this period, payments would resume.

The English, Spanish and French refused to allow president Juarez to do this, and instead decided to invade Mexico and get payments by whatever means necessary. The Spanish and English eventually withdrew, but the French refused to leave. Their intention was to create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III. Some have argued that the true French occupation was a response to growing American power and to the Monroe Doctrine (America for the Americans). Napoleon III believed that if the United States was allowed to prosper indiscriminately, it would eventually become a power in and of itself."

In 1862, the French army began its advance. Under General Ignacio Zaragoza, 5,000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians defeated the French army in what came to be known as the "Batalla de Puebla" on the fifth of May.

In the United States, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to be known as simply "5 de Mayo" and unfortunately, many people wrongly equate it with Mexican Independence which was on September 16, 1810, nearly a fifty year difference. Over, the years Cinco de Mayo has become very commercialized and many people see this holiday as a time for fun and dance. Oddly enough, Cinco de Mayo has become more of Chicano holiday than a Mexican one. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a much larger scale here in the United States than it is in Mexico. People of Mexican descent in the United States celebrate this significant day by having parades, mariachi music, folklore's dancing and other types of festive activities.

I find that the older I get (yikes, did I say old...?) the more I learn from history on how to interpret and deal with the present. If we ignore history it tends to repeat itself until it gets our attention. Better sooner then later, I think, don't you?

Hope this was interesting to you too!

12 comments:

  1. very interesting, it goes along with a lewis and clark expedition documentary series we are watching now. never knew exactly what it was celebrating. thanks for the info.

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  2. Lin;

    My husband and I are always watching the History channel and other history programs...they are so interesting!

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  3. Very interesting post, Peggy! It's true that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more here than in Mexico -- I found that out the year I lived in Mexico. Hope you're having a good week! and that you are having some good weather!!

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  4. Sylvia;

    I am having a pretty great week and I hope you are too!
    Gosh you have lived in so many interesting places!

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  5. Yes, thank you. We were just trying to remember what the day signified, and why it's celebrtated more here than in Mexico. But I think the margaritas have something to do with that, too.

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  6. I do think that the margaritas help a lot !
    Thank you for your comment!

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  7. We've never seen the parades, mariachis and other festivities...just a lot of Mexican beer flowing and of course, the margaritas, so your post was very interesting. I learned a little history on Cinco de Mayo.

    Cheers!

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  8. I knew the history -- as a Spanish major I had to learn it. Their history s just as interesting as ours but we tend to blow it off in our superiority and xenophobia. Actually, we should be learnng the history of all of Latin America to better understand the problems they are facing that cause them to leave their homeland to come here.

    In this country it's just another excuse to party a la St. Patrick's Day and gives the cops overtime. My friend Soledad who owns the Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood calls it "El Cinco de Drinko." I think she sums it up very succinctly.

    It's her busiest day of the year. Most of the Mexicans I know don't celebrate it -- they can't afford margaritas.

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  9. Great post Peggy, I never knew the true history of Cinco De Mayo before. Very interesting reading. I enjoyed it tremendously.

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  10. When I was teaching, we used to always mention all the things that were important about May 5th. Cinco de Mayo was the most important but it was also Boy's Day in Japan and other Asian countries. Japan has made it more Children's Day.

    What the heck! It's a good time to celebrate with a taco.

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  11. Kay;

    We celebrate when our kids first go poopy in the potty so no wonder we seize the day and celebrate these holidays with at least a mention. Thanks for telling us that the 5th of May also is childrens day.

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