Hi everyone! Today we’re taking on trip down south to the tip of North America. Canada? No!! We’re heading to Mexico to prepare for Cinco De Mayo. While a generally minor holiday in Mexico, Americans have taken over May 5th as a day celebrate Mexican culture! For all we Americans enjoy the holiday, though, there are truly many misconceptions about it. So, now, it’s time to get to the bottom of all these myths!
Myth #1: Cinco De Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day
Many people tend to assume that Cinco De Mayo is the Mexican equivalent of the American Fourth of July, but Mexicans actually celebrate their Independence Day on September 16th. Actually, the holiday commemorates the Battle of Puebla. Battling against the French, the Mexicans were victorious in his 1862 battle (www.history.com). While the French would go on to later capture the city, this battle marks a major victory for the Mexicans. Underdogs, the Mexicans had to overcome a huge deficit to defeat the French. It would also help lead to Mexico eventually gaining freedom from French control by motivating the Mexicans to continue fighting for their cause (www.nationalgeographic.com). Ergo, this has grown to become a celebrated holiday in remembrance of these brave soldiers!
Myth #2: Cinco de Mayo is a huge holiday all over Mexico.
The extent of Cinco De Mayo celebrations are diverse all across Mexico. For instance, those in Puebla, the site of the battle, throw huge celebrations! An exhilarating parade plus a reenactment of the battle is a super fun way to celebrate such a cool holiday! (www.theguardian.com). It’s sort of like how people from Lexington and Concord of Massachusetts celebrate Patriots’ Day each year. Leaving Puebla, though, you’ll see that not everyone is as enthusiastic. With the lack of the title of a federal holiday; establishments are still open, causing many to have to attend work (www.history.com).
Myth #3: Eating tacos is how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
When many people–myself included–think of Mexican food, their mind immediately jumps to tacos! While delicious, though, they are actually not authentically Mexican. Tacos are yet another victim of Americanization [sic]. Italian food, Chinese food, Mexican food, basically anywhere on the globe! That’s besides the point, though. If you want a truly Mexican taco, try eating it with a soft tortilla rather than the hard shell that crumbles all over. However, there is actually a dish that has actually been created specifically for the holiday, which is called mole poblano. Poured on top of some meat variant, this is a sauce that includes chocolate, chili peppers, and a variety of spices. (http://listverse.com). CLICK HERE for a full recipe of how to make the dish!
CLICK HERE for image source.
Myth #4: The biggest Cinco de Mayo celebrations take place in Mexico.
Aforementioned, the Mexico city of Puebla–the location of the commemorated battle–has a great celebration for Cinco De Mayo. This is still not the largest celebration, though. Housing the largest celebration for the holiday in the world is Los Angeles, California! With a large Mexican population (fun fact: Los Angeles actually means “The Angels” in Spanish) along with the fact that Americans love Cinco de Mayo, the city is obviously going to hold a huge celebration. It’s inevitable! Beginning in the heat of the American Civil War, celebrating this victory helped to prevent the Californians from joining in support of the Confederate Army; and the celebration has continued ever since. Smaller parties take place in neighborhoods; but a huge, exciting fair takes place in the busy streets of Los Angeles (www.tripsavvy.com).
CLICK HERE for image source.
Here’s just a few of many misconceptions possess about this great holiday! Of course, it’s alright if you didn’t know some–or any of these! I have to admit that I didn’t know some of these myself either. If you would like to learn more, THIS SOURCE provides extensive information about the background of the holiday and its present commemorations. As always, make sure to stay safe and have fun! Happy Cinco de Mayo!