Today you're going to get educated. I see some things happening, and they're not okay. Those things are called "Americans are preparing to celebrate Cinco de Mayo". You've got your enchilada recipe ready, you've bought your margarita supplies, you're asking your cousin for their best guacamole, you bought tortillas at your grocery store (that's really, really wrong), and you just might be pulling down that sombrero that you got at Chevy's to wear at your party.
We don't celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Mexico. It is not Mexican Independence Day. Oh, I know - there are fairs and celebrations and blue light specials on tortilla chips in the States, but no, it's not a big deal here. We don't get the day off.
A Cinco de Mayo celebration somewhere in the States.I don't know how it happened, but it did. Somehow Cinco de Mayo has become this huge celebration of Mexican culture. That's cool. I know in Portland there's a big fair down on the waterfront. The one day I went a few years ago they were actually having a ceremony for some Mexicans who had become American citizens. It was neat, but also... seemed a little backward. But I digress.
Let's make this short and sweet. Mexican Independence Day is September 16th (1810), and is sometimes called El Grito (or, the yell), because it signified the beginning of the Mexican fight for Independence. Miguel Hidalgo was the head honcho of that.
Hidalgo, in the city of Dolores (which actually means "pains"), near Guanajuato.They actually start the celebration with a nationally televised yell the night before the big day.
In reality, Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of a battle in the state of Puebla while fighting off the French in 1862. It was an unlike victory and is celebrated by some, mostly in Puebla. It's just not the national "deal" that we, in the States, seem to think it is.
Another important day in the Mexican holiday calendar is November 20th, the day that started the Mexican Revolution in 1910. They overthrew the government which was being run by Porfirio Diaz, a dictator-like politician who had ruled the country for years.
Pancho Villa (l), Commander of the North, and Emiliano Zapata (r), Commander of the South. Mexican Revolution.
And there you have it. Your little history lesson for the day.
And while we're disspelling myths about Mexico - no, Mexicans are not "used to" the water here. Everyone buys purified water for drinking and cooking. Recently I heard someone say something about a person's body acclimating itself to germs, and he went on to say "Just like the people in Mexico can drink the water and we can't!" While I can't speak for the country as a whole, and I'm sure there are those, especially tribal groups, who do drink the water, the majority do not.