what is cinco de mayo

What is Cinco de Mayo all About?

Hello! Bernie Molina here, author of Herencia Cookbook. My cookbook is full of authentic SalviMex recipes with a modern twist. May 5th, or Cinco de Mayo, is around the corner. This means, there will be margaritas, micheladas, tacos, nachos, and all sorts of celebrating. But, what is Cinco de Mayo all about, really?  I am very excited to tell you all about it, so let’s just get into it.

What Cinco de Mayo is not

I can summarize this best with a story my father tells me. It was the 80s in South East Los Angeles. My father went to a gringo grocery store to pick something up. That’s when he saw an employee merchandising for the 5th of May. The display consisted of a Spaniard Matador. Next, my father saw a sign that said “ole.” Finally, he noticed a banner that said Happy Mexican Independence Day.  Something was very wrong with this picture.  My father confronted the person who was setting up the display. He said something along the lines of, excuse me but this is very offensive. First of all, May 5th is not Mexico’s Independence Day! Secondly, what does a Spaniard have to do with Mexico? The person apologized and informed management.  The next time my papa went to the store, the display was fixed. “Independence Day.” No Spaniards. Ok so if it is not Mexico’s Independence Day, then what the heck is it all about?  

The Battle of Puebla

Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the battle of Puebla. You see, on May 5th, 1862, the Mexican Army defeated the French Empire. Why is this significant? Because 4,000 Mexican soldiers were greatly outnumbered by 8,000 French soldiers. Yet, the Mexican soldiers persevered and won!

What Cinco de Mayo is

Today, in Mexico, the city of Puebla celebrates this holiday with festivities. For example, they celebrate with historical reenactments, parades, and traditional foods. In my dad’s hometown of Cananea, in Sonora, folks celebrate with fireworks. Additionally, here in the US, this holiday is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate Mexican-American culture. Read that again. I said celebrate. Not, appropriate. So please, if you are not Mexican or Mexican-American, stay away from the sombreros, mustaches, and serapes. And, realize that when you call this holiday “Drinko de Mayo,” you dismiss all of the significant history! After reading this, now do you know what cinco de mayo is all about? Let me know in the comments. Finally, if you liked this post, then check out the blog and my book for authentic SalviMex recipes with a modern (and sometimes healthy) twist. Until next time, buen provecho!

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