It’s Cinco de Mayo!!! The Fifth of May!! I hope you’re ready to celebrate with some truth!!
Do you know why anyone celebrates Cinco De Mayo? Many suggest that Cinco De Mayo represents Mexican Independence Day. That would be incorrect. Mexican Independence Day is every September 16th and has been since 1810. As I always say, “it’s best to celebrate history by actually knowing.”
I find it almost comical because I rarely find anyone who can articulate what Cinco de Mayo is or what it stands for. Yet, some will suggest that wearing an American flag t-shirt or waving a U.S. flag on that day is somehow offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do not let this day become another contortion that divides us.
Let me be clear – Cinco de Mayo IS NOT a Mexican Holiday. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. If Cinco De Mayo is going to be a legitimate holiday, then every North American needs to know that it is actually a Mexican AND Yank holiday. Allow me to explain.
In 1861, France sent a massive army to invade Mexico. Maximilian led this army. At that time, France sympathized with the Confederacy. The Union feared that France would have fought alongside the Confederacy or attempted to regain some of its former colonies in the Americas by working with the Confederates once France defeated Mexico (O’Neill, 2017). So the North strategically discharged Union Soldiers as long as those soldiers would join the fight against the French alongside the Mexicans.
The fight that unfolded is worthy of being remembered. The French vastly outnumbered the Mexican and American forces, almost 2 to 1. However, led by a Texas General, the Mexicans and U.S. soldiers fought like hell and defeated the French. It was a big win for both the Mexicans and the Yanks!
Today in Mexico, Puebla is pretty much the only town that celebrates Cinco De Mayo (History Channel, 2009). Moreover, Cinco De Mayo, as we know it, did not kick off in the United States until about 1967. These initial celebrations were started by Americans with Mexican ancestry. Or, we can blame the liquor companies if you want to.
Either way, Cinco de Mayo should be significant to ALL NORTH AMERICANS because it marks the last time any foreign power has “officially” acted as the aggressor on North American soil (so far). I say “officially” because, in 1916, a group of German spies nearly blew up the Statue of Liberty. That explosion closed the torch to tourists forever, and those Germans became the first major foreign terror cell operating successfully on our soil. Terrorism is not usually “official,” so that is why I make that distinction.
So, perhaps that is two things you were not taught in your history classes. No wonder everyone is so confused and hateful towards one another. So, regardless of who you are, celebrate this say all you want, and do not feel bad about it. Wear an American t-shirt, wear a Mexican t-shirt, wave either flag. Heck, wave both! On this day, both nations are united in victory.
Cinco De Mayo – the North American holiday with a Spanish name. And one more thing. Canadians get some love here too. Granted, they were going through their own struggles during that time. However, while it is true that some French Canadians sympathized with their French/South connections, quite a few French Canadians were sympathetic towards abolition. Furthermore, some 40,000-50,000 Canadians joined the Union to fight. In fact, people like Sarah Edmonds and Anderson Abbott did some fantastic things worth looking into.