Friday, April 29, 2005

Cinco De Mayo

Cinco de Mayo... it's not even an American Holiday... and no, to all who have been misguided - it's not the Mexican Independence Day either. (Mexico declared its independence from Spain on September 16, 1810.) Yet, everyone I know celebrates it...

So, perhaps you may wonder why Cinco de Mayo is so great. And about why Americans should even care... Well, it's because the 5th of May memorializes the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862.

A quick overview:

Mexico eventually acquired independence from Spain in 1821 (although they declared independence over 10 years earlier) after an arduous and gory fight. Many political usurpations and wars, including the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the Mexican Civil War of 1858, had pretty much destroyed the national economy.

Mexico, due to these struggles, was in major debt with many Countries, including France. France wanted to use this debt to takeover leadership in Mexico. So the French army invaded Mexico. But when they got to the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe they encountered Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, and a small, poorly armed militia estimated at 4,500 men. But that small militia was able to stop and defeat the well armed French army of 6,500 (some say 8,000) men.

Although triumph was shortlived (because France was eventually able to take over Mexico City and establish Archduke Maximilian of Austria - Napolean's cousin - as
the ruler of Mexico), that victory was a sublime moment for Mexican patriots, which at the time helped to create the much needed feeling of national rapport, and is the cause for the historical date's celebration.

Anyway... my point here is that everyone loves to root for the underdog... And the underdog certainly won on Cinco de Mayo. Which is why it's so important to get out there and have fun on this day that celebrates opportunity and deliverance...

Still unclear? Well, basically what it means for you is the chance to get out there with 1/2 priced Coronas and your friends. Drink some Mexican Tequila-drenched margaritas, laugh, have a good time, enjoy some tapas... and quit acting like you know what you're celebrating... ;)

(Oh, and PS - as Cinco de Mayo falls on a Thursday this year, be sure to drink lots of water before bed so that work won't be quite as rough the next day... ) Hangover cures here

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