Cinco de Mayo has become quite the party, but the reason for the revelry probably isn’t what you think. Cinco de Mayo commemorates a battle between 2,000 poorly-trained, generally underage Mexican soldiers who fought against a much larger, 7,000 man regular French army force. The Mexicans, winning the in true underdog fashion (though eventually losing the war), refer to it as the Battle of Puebla and this year celebrates its sesquicentennial. Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day (that would be September, 16, “Diez y Seis”), but it is an opportunity to explore meaningful multicultural nuances of the sort that are coming in to full flower here in the United States. While Cinco de Mayo is much more universally celebrated here (where it’s seen mainly as an opportunity to drink margaritas) than in Mexico, any opportunity to have a cross-border dialogue is an opportunity well worth taking.
May 5, 2014