Today commemorates the invention of the margarita cocktail the defeat of French expeditionary forces led by Charles Ferdinand Latrille, Comte de Lorencez, by outnumbered Mexican forces under Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexico owed Napoleon III money, so the French invaded Vera Cruz and unsuccessfully tried to foreclose on the city of La Puebla de Los Ángeles.
May 5th is not an official holiday in Mexico because people there know that the French went on to capture Mexico City, install Austrian Archduke Maximilian as Emperor, and inflict the polka on their helpless conquered nation. Many U.S. citizens celebrate Cinco de Mayo, though, perhaps because General Zaragoza was born in Texas.
The U.S. celebration of Cinco de Mayo involves drinking tequila and Mexican beer, eating soggy corn chips with bottled salsa picante and warm Velveeta, and listening to Mariachi music played by Central American immigrants who don’t know the holiday’s origins, either.
While some descendants of the German, Venetian, and Nahuatl settlers of Puebla may commemorate May 5th in that city, most Mexican Cinco de Mayo celebrations are conducted by and for foreign tourists in resort areas. Since flu-fearful tourists swinishly cancelled this year’s travel plans, Mexico is left with empty hotel rooms, full beer kegs, and much more tequila than Tamiflu.
Oh well. All the better to drink a toast to General Zaragoza.
¡Salud! Your health!
Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
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