Dinner time is always a time for me to challenge assumptions. So last night after watching President Obama flub the Cinco de Mayo greeting (because it was Quatro de Mayo), we began discussing what it really is. There was one vote for Mexican independence, another for the Day of the Dead and one "not sure/undecided.
Well turns out to be "none of the above. Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday, according to Wikipedia, that celebrates the 1862 victory of a poorly armed, small Mexican army from the state of Puebla against the French military who were widely expected to win. Sounds like Hannukah and the Macabees to me!
Although it is widely celebrated in the Mexican diaspora in the US, "Cinco de Mayo is not "an obligatory federal holiday" in Mexico, but rather a holiday that can be observed voluntarily," according to Wikipedia sources. Wouldn't it be nice, since so many in Mexico are still quarantined from public places and staying home to prevent the spread of H1N1 influenza, if the government would just declare it a big day of fiesta and allow el pueblo to let its hair down. A sort of Passover, come to think of it, for those who have come through this plague that, so far anyway, isn't one. Masks or no masks, Feliz Cinco de Mayo!