5th of May

As it was last year at this time, it is once again the 5th of May. What does that mean? It means, it's a good time to eat Mexican food and hate myself in the morning. There is something about Mexican food that makes me weak. I think the fact that the ingredients are so few, if you like them you like Mexican food. Tortillas, meat, cheese (so far so good!) throw in peppers, avocados, and tomatoes. (yes I know there are others, but that would be a food post... I'm not doing a food post) I don't see how you can go wrong. I do remember one 5th of May, we couldn't find a parking spot at any Mexican restaurant in town. So we had Chinese. Very odd, but we had the place to ourselves! Chinese food doesn't taste right somehow when you hanker for a nice tomale, chips, and salsa.

So what is the importance of the 5th of May? I always presumed it was a Mexican Independence Day. Possibly because of the syntax; 4th of July, 5th of May. I mean who says 31st of October, or 25th of December? Or "first Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after the day of the vernal equinox" no..you say "Easter!"

The 5th of May isn't the day that Mexico won their independence. Mexico declared independence from Spain in September of 1810. Turns out the French army decided to come into Mexico 50 years later, in the 1860's and establish a nation under Napoleon III. The idea was to check the US so it didn't grow too powerful. (you do have to credit the man for his foresight) Anyway the Mexicans seemed ripe for the picking, considering the battle proven French Army. The French Army advanced in 1862, with aims to take the capital city. With heart, valor and some luck from an arrogant opponent, on the 5th of May the Mexican army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. The French did eventualy overpower the Mexicans, but the 5th of May did a lot to strengthen their resolve and send a message that Mexico would defend itself. In addition this defeat kept Napoleon III from supplying the Confederate army for another year. The Union army defeated the Confederate 14 months later at Gettysburg, which amounted to the end of the war.

Union forces then brought arms to the Mexican army. They now had the will and the means to expel the French. As you can see this is as much and American holiday as a Mexican one. In fact it is celebrated mostly by Mexicans in America.

I don't have any objections to the celebration. That being said, I believe that folks could do their part to calm things down. We have mini riots on the 5th of May every year, and it doesn't make any sense. We can all celebrate, and be responsible, instead of being afriad of going outside.

It would do us all good to remember that Mexico used to be able to stand on it's own, and should be able to again. Anyway... I think I'm having Mexican food tonight, or maybe we'll just get a hot dog and watch some Zorro episodes.

And now that you know... let me leave you with this alternative History.

There are many stories related to the sinking of the "Titanic." Some have just come to light due to the success of the recent movie.

For example, most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellman's mayonnaise was manufactured in England. The "Titanic" was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after New York City.

The Mexican people were eagerly awaiting delivery and were disconsolate at the loss. So much so that they declared a national day of mourning which they still observe today. It is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.


Ando said...

Cool history lesson. I knew it wasn't an independance day, per say, but I didn't realize it played a role in our own Civil War. Viva la Mexico!

J Crew said...

Interesting, I just thought it was another reason for people to drink... like Tequila, Cerveza, Corona, Mountain Dew.

kludge said...

J crew- you never need a reason for a Mt. Dew. At least that's what my Mt. Dew tatto reads.