Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Today is the fifth of May, AKA Cinco de Mayo - a holiday that celebrates Mexico’s 1862 victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla.

It’s not much, as holidays go. Most Mexicans ignore it, with the exception of those living in the state of Puebla. In that respect it’s a little like the Mexican equivalent of Shavuos.

Surprisingly, however, Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in the United States, having been observed in California since the mid-1860’s. Presumably, Californians were happy to see Mexico kick France in the ass back then, but now the day has become one of those Celebrations of Ethnicity that Americans love so much. We have Saint Patrick’s Day for the Irish, Columbus Day for the Italians, Oktoberfest for the Germans (a whole month in order to provide sufficient calendrical lebensraum), and Chinese New Year for the Chinese (who simply refer to it as “New Year”) - so why not a day for our friends south of the border?

Besides, we Americans love our food and drink - so what better than a holiday the observance of which consists of drinking yourself silly on Margaritas and then stuffing your face with good, healthy Mexican food?

Me, I’m not much of a Margarita drinker. I prefer my tequila reposado or añejo neat, or with a shot of sangrita, that quintessential Mexico City chaser... but if ever I do visit Margaritaville, I like mine straight up, Martini-style. The ice-headache-inducing frozen goop that passes for a Margarita in most places? You can keep it.

Better yet, pass me the single malt Scotch. Salud!

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