Tuesday, May 5, 2009

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

On May 5, 1862, the underdog Mexican army withstood the onslaught of the powerful French army, undefeated in fifty years, in the southeastern state of Puebla. Even though it was not even a turning point in the war against the French, who completed their invasion a year later, it is remembered and celebrated for the Mexicans' determination to stand up against great odds. 

Believe it or not, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more outside Mexico than within -- the people of Puebla certainly celebrate, but it is primarily a regional, not national, celebration. Many non-Mexicans believe it is Mexican Independence Day (that is September 16). The date has evolved throughout the world simply as a day to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage, and a good excuse for many to indulge in Mexican food and tequila. 

Today's celebration in Puebla, however, will no doubt be mitigated by the current virtual lockdown in Mexico because of the H1N1 virus. In any case, here's to a lively, colorful culture which has impacted us all in one way or another.

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