Cinco de Mayo has moved from a celebration of the State of Puebla defeating French Soldiers to a bastardization of what it really is. I am being kinda of obnoxious about it, huh. I do not EVER celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It is not because it is not important I mean to Puebla it is very important. Here is the kicker, Mexicans in Mexico do not really celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
Okay, it is NOT Mexican Independence Day which is actually on September 16th, 1810 and it is an important holiday and even in Texas, we need to give it a slight nod. We did not declare our independence from Mexico until March 2nd, 1836. So, as you can see, Tejanos have a long history with Spain and Mexico and our roots are deep. It is harder for us to relate to perceived Latino Issues because of our history.
Anyway, Cinco de Mayo is always associated with a few things:
1) Beer..Cerveza…because of the ads which are heavily marketed during this time.
3) Sombreros, Sarapes, Ponchos..and everything else that is so stereotypical of Mexican Americans.
Cinco de Mayo has become like Mardi Gras and has lost its historical emphasis and has become another reason for people to drink and be ignorant idiots. Same with Mardi Gras, what was once a religious holiday has become a frenzied orgy with beads involved. Because that is so awesome to destroy culture by stamping it with booze and stereotypical ethnic food.
Soldiers in Puebla fought off the French even if they were the underdogs. They fought to protect their state not so we can disrespect them by wearing sombreros. I mean it is okay to celebrate but I am tired of people being ignorant.
When I was at a teaching workshop, a young teacher said to me “I once had a Mexican party at my house.”
I respnded “Oh, really?”
To which she said “It was so much fun. We drank tequila, wore big sombreros, ate Mexican Food, and ate Mexican candy.”
I just smiled and nodded. I mean, okay, I have Mexican Parties all the time. I just didn’t know they were called that. We call them BBQ’s or get togethers minus the Sombreros. When we have pinatas, they are not those garish donkey looking ones. I remember having a Care Bear one, a rabbit for Easter, and I even bought a Power Puff one.
That is the difference…I don’t make Stir Fry and call it a Chinese Party. I don’t make Spaghetti and call it an Italian Party. I don’t decorate my house with flags and stereotyped images to proclaim how “in touch” I am with that culture.
I was invited to a dinner party once by my Korean neighbors. It wasn’t a Korean party. It was just a potluck party. Every one made a dish, we played Dance, Dance Revolution (very popular in the early 2000’s) and that was it. It was people gathered together to celebrate with food relevant to their culture. Nothing more and nothing less.
In reality, we are not celebrating Cinco de Mayo but instead are just having a Party de Mayo and I don’t even celebrate it. For what, so I can watch the stereotypes, drink myself into a stupor and cry about the depravity of humanity. A bit extreme, but it is by far my least favorite observed holiday besides well, I’ll get back to you.