Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

It's Mexican Day here today. Well, to be more precise, the Mexicans - and everyone else for that matter - are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a highly revered date on the Mexican calendar as it commemorates the unlikely defeat of the French army in Puebla, Mexico in 1862. This victory became a symbol of unity and identity for Mexicans. But the fact that this victory was short lived and the French captured Mexico City and installed Maximilian I as Emperor shortly thereafter, is not really spoken about! For today, it's all about nationwide fiestas, margaritas, mariachi bands on every corner, tacos and brightly colored sombreros.

Interestingly, south of the border Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated like it is in the US. Here, it has taken on a life of its own and become one gigantic national party. In Puebla, the festivities take on a more reflective and reverential perspective. And this year's celebration holds particular importance because it marks the 150th anniversary. Not to worry. In Manhattan, a city that is basically the Mexicans' third home after LA, everyone is happy there is a party in their honor. Given that so many Mexican immigrants - legal or illegal -  have basically brought up the next generation of Upper Eastsiders, and are responsible for every menial task possible in this city from washing restaurant plates to maintaining the perfectly manicured Hamptons' gardens, it only seems fitting that everyone stands by their side and celebrates in memory of this seemingly special day for them.  Pass me another margarita. Feliz Cinco de Mayo.

image: filmMattic

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