Thursday, September 19, 2013

Everybody Loves Cinco de Mayo

As I listened to the crowd shout: “Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva
Mexico!” on Mexican Independence Day, I wondered why most people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence day. 

“El Grito de la Indepencia” (the Cry of Independence) was first heard in the small town of Delores, Mexico on September 16, 1810.  The actual date of Mexico’s independence from Spain did not occur until September 28, 1821, over a decade later, however, it is the date of the declaration of independence that is celebrated. 

So, what is Cinco de Mayo?  That date commemorates the improbable Mexican victory over the much larger French army on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Puebla. Indeed, some said the Mexicans were chasing a rainbow the day they took on the French and it wasn’t until four years later that the French finally withdrew from Mexico.

While Cinco de Mayo is a day of celebration, it is not a Mexican national holiday, nor is it widely celebrated in Mexico.  It is mainly celebrated by Mexicans who live in the state of Puebla (Hooray for the home team!) and, of course, “sympathetic” Americans who enjoy pounding down a few beers in support of the “cause.”  

Ok then, why is Cinco de Mayo such a big deal?  As I pictured all those gringos downing their Coronas with limes jammed in the bottlenecks, I started wondering whether Corona was hoping to promote sales and created this “national [read: American] holiday”.  After all, didn’t some greeting card company invent Mother’s and Father’s Days?  And it dawned on me that “Dieciséis de Septiembre” (September 16) is not nearly as catchy as “Cinco de Mayo.”

Ok, Corona, tell us the truth.  It was a big marketing campaign, right?  I can picture those big inflated Corona bottles bouncing around every Mexican restaurant on May 5th.  It’s cool, you can tell us.  Everybody loves Cinco de Mayo.   
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I wrote this for the Week 95 Trifecta Writing Challenge where we are to write a 33-333 word composition using the word “rainbow” in the context of “an illusory goal or hope.” 

Your comments are appreciated. 

23 comments:

  1. I can see this as being a reality.
    I think St. Valentine's Day was also popularized by a greeting card company...

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    1. Gee, you burst another childhood illusion. I thought Valentines day was in honor of the St. Valentine's Day massacre where two Chicago gangs shot each other up! Lol!!!Thanks for commenting Draug.

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  2. I see this as reality too-especially with those giant Corona bottles. And I can't believe how commercialized the once simple celebration of Halloween has become-like costumes for grownups that cost hundreds of dollars, and the excess of Jack-o-lantern home decor, etc. It starts to become all about money.

    Thanks for this history lesson lum-it was very enlightening!

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    1. I hear you Valerie. I am disturbed, but also amused at how easily manipulated we all seem to be. I read that some guy actually spends thousands of dollars on his electric bill lighting up his house at Christmas. Thanks for your comments.

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  3. My step-dad's favorite holiday is Cinco De Mayo. He always says it's because it feels like the beginning of SUMMER to him (even more than Memorial Day).

    Listen, I gave up once I learned that Jesus was probably born in July...it doesn't take anything away from Christmas for me, I still love it but I have learned to live with the little white lies of history.

    once again, you TEACH me something. THANK YOU.

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    1. Thanks Kir. I'm just naturally curious so I like to look up things I don't know and this was one of them. I'm not too distrubed about whether it was invented or not, if people enjoy it, that's all that matters.

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  4. I'd just as soon they commercialize most holidays, but I find myself saying Bah, humbug more and more often the older I get. Coincidence? Who's to say.
    Great educational post, lumdog!

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    1. Thanks kymm. Yeah, I'm not too bothered much either way. It was fun to imagine a bunch of guys in suits plotting to get people to drink beer though.

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  5. Ahhhhh! The Hallmark holidays! I don't celebrate Cinco d Mayo but I know lots who do. I definitely think it's Corona based or maybe Hass (the avocado growers) or maybe even Dorito. I guess some people need an excuse to whoop it up. I guess I don't feel I do. This was very interesting, lumdog. Man, did you get all over Mexico or what???

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    1. Thanks Gina. I'm with you, I don't need an excuse to party. I've haven't been everywhere in Mexico but I did see the site of the Battle of Puebla. The town of Puebla is interesting with its French influenced architecture!!

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  6. This is great! It's like s little history lesson. Nicely written!

    Best,
    MOV

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    1. Thank you MOV, I appreciate those comments. :)

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  7. This is totally plausible. And informative. Thanks for the history lesson (at least, I assume that part's true). :)

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    1. Thank you Margit. The history is accurate although I misspelled Dolores (it's been corrected).

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  8. Haha...love the last paragraph! Yes, I'm sure it was a brilliant marketing campaign. (Cinco de Mayo is huge in Arizona...I make sure I'm not on the roads that night...or St. Patrick's Day...or Thanksgiving...I think Arizonan's just like to drink :))

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    1. Thanks Janna. I thought of the last paragrpah first and I had to build the story around it.

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  9. You can't knock a holiday that's focus is booze. Viva Mexico!

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  10. informative! figure AIDS day must be a campaign of the red ribbon makers then!

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    1. Thanks Habiba. I hope it's not that way with the ribbon makers but who knows.

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  11. Interesting information and good observation-even we in India, have heard of Cinco de Mayo Lumdog!You are so right-most of these so called "festivals" or "Special days" are only gimmicks by big companies to sell their products.When we were young,web had never even heard of VD or anything like that but look at the younger generation today-Archies is full of silly gifts,priced exorbitantly and a single rose sells at 10 times it's original price on 14th Feb-ridiculous!

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    1. Thanks Atreyee. In the end, people make their own decisions about these things so I don't really blame the companies if people want to waste their money.

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  12. A wonderfully fun, informative and thought-provoking post. I wonder if Corona think they're onto a good thing.

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    1. Thank you Sarah. If they really plotted this all out, they were pretty clever. I doubt they could pull it off again though.

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