Cinco de Mayo! Woohoo!
Well actually we enjoyed our Mexican food on the 4th rather than the 5th (and May the Fourth be with you) just because. Seriously no other reason. We were hungry for Mexican food and it was the 4th which we felt was close enough to the fifth to count. We are not all that rigid about our holiday celebrations.
We were out and about running errands anyway, so when we got tummy rumbly, instead of going directly home instead we headed toward our favourite local Mexican restaurant. Plaza Mexico! I really should have taken some photos of the inside of the place. Think dark heavy rustic wooden furniture and bright happy colours everywhere. Perfect! Not the Disney version of a Mexican Restaurant. Nice.
We had guacamole of course. A nice young man with a trolley loaded with ingredients came by to ask how we wanted ours made. Tim very thoughtfully allows me to dictate the amount of heat and spice since, while I adore guac, I can only tolerate tiny heat. As in, for anyone else it's, 'Is there any spice in here?" but for me, my mouth is tingling. Yes, I'm a wimp.
Our food was wonderful, it always is there, the service was attentive and very pleasant, as per usual. We left very full and very happy. I was too hungry to remember to take photos when the food first came to the table, sorry. You will have to extrapolate from the evidence below how amazing our meal was:
So it's all good right? Except, I wasn't exactly sure what it was that we were celebrating. Most holidays I know the origin of. This one I do not. It just feels like, if I am going to celebrate something, I ought to know why. So, of course, I did some reading.
In case you didn't know, May 5th, Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. It is important to note here that the Mexican army was much smaller than the French one and yet they prevailed! That is worthy of note! Something to be proud of.
I've always been a fan of the underdog in any fight. Stillo do I have the right to celebrate a Mexican Holiday? I mean is that cultural appropriation? (I understand that right now that is kind of a thing). I would never intentionally offend anyone.
But then I went on to read that Cinco de Mayo is far more popular throughout the United States than it is in Mexico? What? In the US it has changed from being the celebration of a military victory to a celebration of Mexican-American Culture! I love when people are able to assimilate into 'American' culture and yet still hang on to and celebrate their origins! After all, one of the nicknames of the US that I have always been most proud of was that we are the "Melting Pot". So many different cultures, so many different languages and backgrounds and religions living in relative harmony (we still need to work on that) together! What a wonderful idea!
Everyone in this country has blended some of their history/traditions/foods/language together to make us stronger, more robust, more vigorous, richer, more interesting as a people. It's like weaving a very colourful blanket of super sturdy yarns. Strong and beautiful!
Thinks about it. In any fair sized town or city you can find food from nearly any country you like. We enjoy the festivals celebrating each of these cultures as well. Nobody is turned away. The attitude is more, "Come learn about us!". Knowledge is understanding after all. The fashion industry is long known for adapting various cultural dress into our styles. Literature, art, science, are all richer for the diversity of it's contributors. While there are of course differences from one country and culture to another, ultimately, there are far more similarities. Still the differences are important too because how we learn and grow and become more global in our mindset.
So as it turns out, I do not need to feel any more guilty for celebrating Cinco de Mayo than I do for wearing green on St. Patrick's Day. It's true that if you go far enough back in my family history, there is a line or good Irish folks and my maiden name is Hurley (from the O'Hurlihy), but we are talking about 300 years or more ago. And I've never been to Ireland so I certainly do not feel as if I can call myself Irish. Or German (some of that in my background too) or English (got some of that yupyup) or any of the many other ethnic backgrounds that comprise my genetic history.
I say that we should all celebrate not just our own cultural heritage but that of everyone around us! I feel like Oprah right now, "You get a celebration and You get a celebration and You get a celebration"!
So Happy Cinco (or in our case, quatro) de Mayo! Hope you celebrated! What's the next one on the calendar 'coz I'm gonna celebrate that one too!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.