Friday, May 05, 2006

Let’s Talk Mayo

It’s Cinco De Mayo, a time when Americans everywhere pretend to appreciate the Mexican culture so as to get as drunk a possible and still keep an air of tolerance and understanding about them.

It’s a little like St. Patrick’s day, but with a lot less kissing and green and a lot more…well…Mexicans.

One thing is certain, there’s no better way to celebrate an immigrant holiday than drinking gallons of beer.

In the interest of spreading a true appreciation for the holiday, I’m going to give you a brief history of Cinco De Mayo.

It’s an often repeated misconception that Cinco De Mayo is the Mexican Independence Day. It is not. Don’t be an ignoramus and say that it is. Because, as I said, it isn’t. Maybe it should be, there is an argument for that. But it isn’t. So don’t try to impress a Latino with your ignorant belief that it is. No matter how drunk you get, Cinco De Mayo will never be Mexican Independence Day. Not this year anyway. And the Latino that you’re talking to may not actually be a Mexican. Also no matter how drunk you get. And Cinco De Mayo is a Mexican Holiday.

As I said, there are some who would like for Cinco De Mayo to be Mexican Independence Day. After all, who the hell remembers September 16th? That is actually Mexican Independence day. That’s the real one. As you can tell, it’s not on the 5th. It’s also not in May. But any argument to make Cinco De Mayo the Mexican Independence Day would be stupid. Let me explain.

Cinco De Mayo is a celebration of a battle that took place on…yes…May 5th. It was the spring of 1862 and France was more than a little pissed at Mexico for refusing to pay back some debts. See Mexico was strapped because they’d spent all their cash fighting the Americans and themselves, so they asked for a small grace period on the pay-back. The French said “hell no.”

About 8,000 or so French troops marched their way into Mexico, threatening to take over the capital and the entire country. The leader of the French, Napoleon III had a plan to turn control over to his homie, Archduke Maximillion of Austria.

I’m sure that Napoleon’s reasoning was this: “Why not have an Austrian rule Mexico? After all, the similarities between traditional Austrian polka music and Mexico’s traditional mariachi are uncanny.”

(As a side note: I like both polka and mariachi. I really do. In fact, I just got an accordion. No word yet on getting one of those huge-ass guitars.)

Mexican’s didn’t see it this way. They wanted less tuba and more gigantic guitar-thingies. So they fought off the French invasion. Led by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, a small(ish) army of rag-tag Mexican forces beat back the French forces and the Austrian Archduke in the “Battle of Puebla” and kept the entire nation free of Lederhosen forever!

And that’s why Cinco De Mayo is so special.

Actually, a couple years after the “first” Cinco De Mayo, the Archduke and the French came back with a bigger army and took over Mexico. The American’s helped to run the French out of Mexico. This time forever for realzies. And since then, the citizens of Mexico have been so thankful that every day, thousands of them come to this country – unsolicited – to tell us how happy they are about it.

So should Cinco De Mayo be celebrated as Mexican Independence Day? No. It was just a great victory for Mexico is all. But it wasn’t the birth of their independence. Therefore, it shouldn’t be celebrated that way. And anyone who thinks otherwise is a dumb-head.

There is also a movement in this country to make Cinco De Mayo an American holiday.

That’s also retarded.

What the hell does America have to do with a battle that took place in Mexico between the French and Mexicans in 1862? Not a hell of a lot. It would be like asking Mexico to recognize President’s Day.

And really, no one recognizes President’s Day.

Fun Fact: According to my calendar, today is not only “Battle of Puebla Day (Mexico)” but it’s also the First Quarter Moon!

Now that’s just some useful information there. I buy Corona for Cinco De Mayo, but what the hell do I get drunk on for First Quarter Moon?!

Moon Pies?

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