I realize this is supposed to be a personal blog about my life and sports, but I have to vent. After all, it is the fifth of May, otherwise known as Cinco de Mayo. I’m not sure why I find this day of celebration so irritating and a small part of me wishes I could just lighten up regarding the whole matter and drink a Pacifico. But I can’t. While each year the day does seem to go smoother, with less friction, less explaining, I’m not sure if I can attribute this to people being more knowledgable regarding the history of Cinco de Mayo or people having learned to avoid me on this day.
I know a large part of my agitation is a result of having to explain for years that my family does not do anything special on the fifth of May. Just because we’re Mexican doesn’t mean my mom is refrying frijoles while dad is skillfully measuring tequila into a blender on this “big day.” Honestly, we didn’t know much about Cinco de Mayo until the late 70s and unless your family was originally from Puebla, Mexico there wasn’t any reason.
Yes, it was a significant battle in the long run, but the true celebration is September 16th, Mexican Independence Day, freedom from Spain. But I’m guessing Diez y seis de Septembre doesn’t easily roll off the tongue. So, the U.S. got wind of this fifth day in May, where the only celebration being held was in the town of Puebla. For years I’ve tried to come up with a comparison to the Battle of Puebla and the only thing that comes to mind is if I were to begin wishing Americans a “Happy Bull Run Day” on July 21st or “Happy Battle of Lexington Day” on April 19. Sadly, I doubt half of the people I approached would even know what I meant by Bull Run or the Battle of Lexington, unless I was in the south, and if they did know they’d wonder if I’d lost my mind. Unless there was beer drinking involved.
Because that’s what it comes down to, beer distribution. In the 80s, the beer industry realized while people didn’t need many excuses to drink, if you give them a holiday, say like Oktoberfest or St. Patrick’s Day, they drank more. A lot more. Suddenly, Cinco de Mayo was big beer drinking business and the fifth day of May became an excuse to ice Coronas, mix margaritas, shoot tequila, and act a fool.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my beer. I am a professed beer snob, being extremely selective in my choice of brew. And I realize I am a hypocrite come March when I sport a green beret and drink Guinness on St. Pat’s Day, because isn’t it really the same thing? Aren’t these celebrations, while somewhat misguided, just a recognition of ones heritage and culture? Well, to an extent.
I guess it’s really the fact that most people who will be drinking and eating Mexican on this day, have no idea why they are celebrating. None. And the same goes for those who chase car bombs with green beer and those who stumble through beer gardens wearing Alpine hats and spilling Warsteiner all over themselves. It’s okay to celebrate, just know what and why you are celebrating. That’s all I ask.
With that said, all this writing about beer has made me a little thirsty. What the hell, if it means I can open a bottle of Bohemia, happy fifth of May.