Cinco De Mayo Is A Big Deal In Amarillo But Why?
Cinco De Mayo falls this Saturday. It's a rare opportunity for those celebrating the holiday to stay up late and do what they usually do on Cinco De Mayo; drink lots of beer.
I've often thought it should be called 'Cerveza De Mucho" as this seems to be the common thread on the day we celebrate...uh...Mexican...uh...what?
The truth is Cinco De Mayo has more in common with St. Patrick's Day and Halloween than anything that ever happened in Mexico.
Wait, isn't it Mexican Independence Day over Spain?
Nope. Not even close. Officially the day is to commemorate a battle fought in 1862. The Battle of Puebla. It was a victory by Mexican forces over Napoleon III's French army. The holiday is not celebrated much in Mexico except in Puebla. Most Mexican citizens find our celebration of Cinco De Mayo to be somewhat of a joke at best and at worst a bastardization of Mexican culture.
The big fuss got started in the 1970's when the Chicago Chicano Movement adopted the holiday for the battle's David vs. Goliath storyline. Where does the connection to St. Patrick and Halloween come in?
Cinco De Mayo has been hijacked by corporate America, most notably beer companies. Much like they hijacked St. Patrick's day; a day now synonymous with getting blind drunk(forget the Saints turn in their grave over the day) and Halloween hijacked by costume and candy companies. If the holiday is a big deal they will sell a great deal. It's the Christmas media blitz revisited because you can only have one Christmas.
And if Mexico needs an independence day to celebrate I'd suggest February 2nd. That is the date of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. This was the treaty that saw U.S. forces withdrawing from the captured capital of Mexico City back across the Rio Grande. This was the treaty that gave the United States the territories that would become most or parts of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming. The treaty set the Rio Grande as the border between the two countries and removed all United States troops from Mexico City and the rest of the redrawn country.
If the predominantly Anglo-Protestant U.S. wasn't afraid to enfranchise all those Mexican and Indian voters we would've annexed the whole dang country and they'd be celebrating July 4th like the rest of us.
The U.S. leaving the citizens of Mexico to their own devices is certainly more celebratory than some pithy and obscure battle fought against the French. A battle that meant little if anything to Mexico as a whole, especially in 2012.