(The REAL) Cinco De Mayo

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Hi all, it's been a minute!

Hoy es Cinco De Mayo!!!! You know what that means? YEP, you guessed it. Sombreros! Maracas! Ponchos! Sarapes! Margaritas! Shots! Cultural Appropriation!! 

I think Mexicans/Xican@s, have a hard time coming to terms with this holiday. To celebrate or not to celebrate?

I mean I get it, Americans take it to a whole nother level for their own pleasure. They not only confuse it for Mexico's Independence (September 16), but take it as opportunity to throw racist parties (white people love a good themed party). We kind of then feel like we wanna put our foot down and say "hey! it's not our independence day! do you even know what your celebrating??" But chances are you might not even know yourself what Cinco De Mayo is. 

So how can we, as Xican@s/Mexicans, reclaim (for lack of better word) this holiday as our own?
Let's start with some history according to Jose Antonio Burciaga's Drink Cultura: Chicanismo. 

It's 1861, Mexico's hella bankrupt. Mexico's already lost half it's territory to the US, and owed money to Spain, France, UK, and U.S. At this time Europe is out of Mexico (they can't get in bc of the Monroe Doctrine). BUT GUESS WHAT? YEP, YOU GUESSED IT. Civil War (U.S). It's the summer of 1861 and Spain, France, and the England get together to make sure Mexico will pay it's debts. So Spain and England were first to send troops to get to collectin'. . . .then France comes.... FULL FORCE. It's May 5th 1862 .. . . . . half of France is in Puebla (jk, but no really)... . . . AND GUESS WHAT....... (I like how Burciaga puts it) "a ragtag, poor and hungry, half Indian Mexican army under General Igancio Zaragoza de Seguin beat the better armed French forces, at the time the most powerful on Earth." He says this gave Mexico a soul of her own and national unity. 

"A seemingly insignificant battle in Puebla de Los Angeles on May 5, 1862, was a symbolic victory for Mexico: it emboldened a poor, beleaguered resistance movement into believing that they could triumph. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Mexicans fought back against the French, who retreated after a heavy day of losses, including the lives of nearly 500 soldiers. Mexico, in contrast, lost just 100 soldiers." Kelly Phillips, Forbes

"its moral and political results were immeasurable. The entire nation was thrilled with enthusiasm. Surely no Mexican, whatever his party, was downcast by the victory. The remotest Indian village felt the electric current of patriotism that sped like lightning through the land, awakening many a sleeping conscience. The people were inspired to make a supreme effort." Justo Sierra
(this was a battle during a war, France ultimately pushed further in the next few years, but an unexpected victory and moral boost doesn't hurt)

And how does this affect us in current time?? Well in this moment Robert E. Lee is in the U.S. South. . . had France won, they would have joined the South and convinced the English to aid the South in freeing the Union blockaded ports. In conclusion, French Victory=Southern Victory. Very different future.

Now, I am nooooo U.S. history/politics expert so I don't know how much of this is plausible. 

But I am in full support of celebrating an Indigenous, Mexican, unlikely defeat of a European Power. Viva Mexico!!

*** short history version and yes, I had a small margarita earlier ;)

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