Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Whose party is Cinco de Mayo?

Who decided that Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in the U.S.?  Many Americans think it could compare to our July 4th.  But its not.  Cinco de Mayo was a battle that Mexico won against France.  Yes, it was important.  The French army was the most powerful in the world at the time (in 1862).  But it is no Mexican July 4th.  See PBS for more on Mexico's Cinco de Mayo May 5.

A few years before I returned to graduate school I worked as an elementary school social worker (that had a mostly white student body).  When Cinco de Mayo came up, everyone was so excited about the celebration.  I asked why didn't the school honor Mexico's Independence day which is September 16th.  They said it was more convenient to have a celebration in May instead of September.

This morning my husband said something about Cinco de Mayo.  I said "that's not really a holiday for Mexico," and he said, "but it is for Chicanos and Mexican Americans."  Maybe so, but to me it seems like the NON-Mexican Americans have decided to have a party - better to celebrate a battle against the French than contemplate that Mexico is an independent sovereignty (and acknowledge isn't all about picante sauce and narcos).  See Mexico's Independence Day - September 16th

No comments: