Monday 5 May 2008
News: Happy Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo - mean anything to you? Chances are it doesn't, since May 5th celebrations haven't really made much of an impact this side of the Atlantic. In America, however, Cinco de Mayo has become a significant occasion for the celebration of Hispanic culture. In its origins, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, a victory for the Mexican Army against occupying French forces. In its modern form, it has become a more general Latino celebration (commonly confused with Mexican Independence Day), marked with much greater vigour in America than in Mexico itself. In part, this is the result of good marketing. Beer and tequila companies have been keen to establish Cinco de Mayo as something akin to St. Patrick's Day. Yet marketing aside, it is apparent that Cinco de Mayo has become a notable date on the calendar, and not just for America's 45 million Hispanics. This year, George Bush, who has previously held Cinco de May events at the White House, released a statement to mark the day: "Today, we remember these heroic accomplishments and all those working to advance peace and liberty around the globe. This holiday is also an opportunity to recognize the strong ties of family, economy, and culture that bind the United States and Mexico."
Read a New York Times editorial on the day here, and an account of Cinco de Mayo in the city here, whilst food blog Serious Eats has a series of Cinco de Mayo recipes here. Anyone with plans for a Cinco de Mayo Bank Holiday?