From the diaries by susanbhu. Donde esta Corona, hombre?! (Burp. Ole!) Oye hombre, donde esta mi Corona? (My main man eegee said to say that instead.)

Did you know that tomorrow today is Cinco de Mayo?  I was reminded of the holiday last night while channel-surfing and the annual Cinco de Mayo Corona commercial came on the screen.  They’re so clever huh?  Wow I’m thirsty.

All snark aside, I wanted to take this opportunity to raise awareness in the BooTrib community about the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo as well as the deliberate attempt to hijack the cultural celebration.

Follow me…
There’s a widespread myth that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day. That’s not true, their actual Independence Day is diez y seis de Septiembre, or September 16th.  Cinco de Mayo serves as the commemoration of the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in 1862 in the Mexican state of Puebla.

The victory was a glorious moment for Mexican patriots, which at the time helped to develop a needed sense of national unity, and is the cause for the historical date’s celebration.

Unfortunately, the victory was short lived. Upon hearing the bad news, Napoleon had found an excuse to send more troops overseas to try and invade Mexico again, even against the wishes of the French populace. 30,000 more troops and a full year later, the French were eventually able to depose the Mexican army, take over Mexico City and install Maximilian as the ruler of Mexico.

Maximilian’s rule of Mexico was also short lived, from 1864 to 1867. With the American Civil War now over, the U.S. began to provide more political and military assistance to Mexico to expel the French, after which Maximilian was executed by the Mexicans – today his bullet riddled shirt is on display in the museum at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. So despite the eventual French invasion of Mexico City, Cinco de Mayo honors the bravery and victory of General Zaragoza’s small, outnumbered militia at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

The celebration of Cinco de Mayo has gained in popularity in the United States with a growing number of Latinos in communities across the country.  Unfortunately over the past few years, Cinco de Mayo has been commercialized and linked to the beer industry.  Think about it, when you read my diary headline, did you think of a margarita or a Corona?  That shows their success.

Over the past few of years, Latino activists in the U.S. have tried to re-claim the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo.  They host community events featuring Mariachi and Folklorico performances that celebrate the culture of the Mexican people.  It’s a well-needed alternative to the fiestas that have become a huge drunken spectacle. So tomorrow today, before you squeeze that lime into your Corona, remember that the Almighty Dollar drove the marketing campaign to get you to happy hour on “Drinko de Mayo”  

To read more about the hijacking of Cinco de Mayo by the liquor industry, I invite you to check out the following articles:

La Prensa – San Diego, CA

Toledo Blade – Toledo, OH

The News-Sentinel – Fort Wayne, IN – San Antonio, TX


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