Cinco de Mayo

Don’t let this get in the way of your tequila blackout, but:

Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico, which occurs on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that is virtually ignored in Mexico.

My mom’s the kind of Mexican who is still smarting about the Cession of 1848 and wouldn’t set foot in a chain Mexican restaurant. Along with sour cream on tacos, she thinks Cinco de Mayo is strictly for gringos. I didn’t even know the holiday existed until after I left home for college. But, enough about that — this is an open thread.

76 replies
  1. 1
    stuckinred says:

    It’s just another excuse to drink and fatten the booze purveyor’s checkbook. On the upside the cops tell the morons they will be running roadblocks here and, sure enough, they’ll bust a ton of em tonight. Whoo fuckin hooo!

  2. 2
    djork says:

    Yay, Mexican Fourth of St. Patrick’s Day!!!!

  3. 3
    cathyx says:

    So what is Cinco de Mayo a celebration of?

  4. 4
    Pee Cee says:

    It’s just another excuse to drink and fatten the booze purveyor’s checkbook.

    What more excuse does one need for a holiday?

  5. 5
    4tehlulz says:

    HAPPY ST. CORONA’S DAY!

  6. 6
    ABloomquist says:

    I once worked as a bank teller in heavily Hispanic neighborhood. I asked one of my coworkers (the staff demographics matched the neighborhood pretty well), “I know that Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexican Independence day, but what is it again?”

    He responds,
    “Oh, you mean ‘Gringo Day’?”

    I’ve enjoyed calling it that ever since.

  7. 7
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Hey look, another shining example of Republican arsehole behavior. Kudos to Gaiman for his handling of this. I hope Amanda F. Palmer is less kind if she ever meets Matt Dean.

  8. 8
    alwhite says:

    @djork:

    DAMN! You beat me to it!

    Instead of “the pukin’ o the green” we get the di puka el mierda tequila

  9. 9
    malraux says:

    she thinks Cinco de Mayo is strictly for gringos.

    As a gringo, I’m ok with that. Adding random nonsense holidays is always a good idea.

  10. 10
    debit says:

    I have a client who, though no fault of his own, is on the liquor list (state says you can’t buy booze because you owe them money). He runs a Mexican restaurant. He asked for my help yesterday. YESTERDAY. I’m getting him off the list. But the wheels of the Sate of MN grind slowly and so it will happen on Monday. Yesterday was not a fun day.

  11. 11
    lol says:

    Saint Patrick’s Day, until recently, was pretty much ignored in Ireland too.

  12. 12
    Tuttle says:

    @cathyx: It celebrates the Mexican victory over the French in the battle of Puebla. One possible reason it is celebrated more by (USof)Americans than Mexicans is that this battle prevented France from being able to supply the Confederacy by land.

  13. 13
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    We should be celebrating Cinco de Mayo. We benefited from it. If the Mexican’s hadn’t stopped the invading French (while we were busy fighting the Civil War), Mexico would have become French and so would parts of the US.

  14. 14
    Ash Can says:

    Well then, maybe John Boehner can be forgiven for ditching the Cinco de Mayo party.

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    today is the day we celebrate bartenders who know how to make a margarita from scratch, and scorn those who rely on mixes.

  16. 16
    suzanne says:

    It’s Cinco de Drink-o!

  17. 17
    Legalize says:

    Cinco de Mayo is the day American baseball teams spell their team names in Spanish on their uniforms. And Michelle Malkin pounds out some hate porn.

  18. 18
    MikeJ says:

    I thought we were all supposed to listen to Liz Phair today.

  19. 19
    Trinity says:

    @cleek: Win!

  20. 20
    stuckinred says:

    @Tuttle: CT, is that you?

  21. 21
    rea says:

    It’s a holiday that we in the US ought to celebrate. The Mexican victory over French invaders at Puebla on May 5, 1862 played a big role in preventing French intervention in the US Civil War.

  22. 22
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I have not had tequila since one night in June of 1975. The following day was very unpleasant.

  23. 23
    ppcli says:

    @Tuttle: [or is that “Buttle”?]
    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:
    @rea:

    Ah, I didn’t know that. Thanks. Makes it easier to understand why supporters of the Confederate Republican party always make such sarcastic, dismissive references to Cinco de Mayo celebrations. I figured it was just anti-Hispanic sentiment, but this reveals the deeper truth.

  24. 24
    cleek says:

    @MikeJ:
    one should do that every day.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    alwhite says:

    @Legalize:

    OK so baseball does something different but is same shit different day for Malkin

  27. 27
    Jay C says:

    @rea:

    Sorry to rain on the Cinco de Mayo parade (and interesting point, mm: I hadn’t known how little a deal it was in Mexico!): but the reason the Battle of Puebla is celebrated (I always assumed) was that it was one of the few Mexican victories in fighting Napoleon III’s invasion of 1862. An invasion which led to the French chasing Benito Juarez’ government into the desert, and setting up Archduke Maximilian of Austria as “Emperor of Mexico”. Of course, this didn’t end up too well for the French, or for Maxilimilian;
    but it’s a bit simplistic to assume that 5/5/1862 was the reason France didn’t support the Confederacy.

    But it’s a good reason for celebration, anyway! ¡Viva!

  28. 28
    Valdivia says:

    When I was teaching Lat Am studies I would tell my students to guess what they would go drinking to on this date. After much blank staring I would tell them the story of the Holly Alliance and the Emperor Maxillian. That american kids get drunk over his death and the Battle of Puebla still cracks me up no end.

  29. 29
    EIGRP says:

    What’s a good tequila to drink/mix today (or any day for that matter)?

    Eric

  30. 30
    Rosalita says:

    @cleek:

    today is the day we celebrate bartenders who know how to make a margarita from scratch, and scorn those who rely on mixes.

    this!!

  31. 31
    piratedan says:

    @MikeJ: probably better served with some Sir Douglas Quintet or some Texas Tornados…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySNON249yes

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM2uOhiM2YM

    or perhaps something a tad more traditional for you oldsters

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjEPX_WHNXY

  32. 32
    Valdivia says:

    I should add though that the US actually helped but only at the very end. You also housed a lot of the exiled Mexican politicians, the Liberals, who returned to reinstall the Republic. I should note too, that it was the Conservatives, hankering for the Monarchy that gave an in to the French and the Holly Alliance, because they bitterly lost the War fo the Reform.

    I see @Jay C: already talked about this/ skulks hhis.

  33. 33
    piratedan says:

    alas moderation for my musical linkage above, just seems wrong to reference Liz Phair (although I like her stuff too)

  34. 34
    cleek says:

    @EIGRP:
    criteria #1: no plastic bottles.

  35. 35
    ppcli says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: Thanks for the link. Gaiman’s blog postings on this are spectacular – rarely do you see a thug politician vivisected quite so casually and effectively.

  36. 36
    ppcli says:

    @Jay C:
    @Valdivia:

    Aw, c’est dommage. It was s good story though, and I enjoyed it for all the five minutes that I believed it.

  37. 37
    David says:

    Here is a fascinating 20 minute interview with Janny Scott author of A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother. Scott interviewed nearly 200 of Dunham’s friends, colleagues, and relatives (including both her children), and combed through boxes of personal and professional papers, letters to friends, and photo albums, to uncover the full breadth of this independent woman’s inspiring and nontraditional life. Scott shows how Dunham shaped the man Obama is today.

    http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopa.....as-mother/

    (you don’t have to register or anything to listen or download)

  38. 38
    Valdivia says:

    Sorry not to get all professorial on your asses–but the real lesson from the Battle of Puebla etc is that the entrenched interests of the Catholic Church and the Monarchists would have done *everything* including selling their country back to Europe before letting that ‘upstart’ colored-indian fella Benito Juarez, secularize their country. The War of the Reform is the bitterest battle against the fastest-paced effort at secularizing and liberalizing society Latin America ever saw. So when you’re drinking, make sure you raise your glass to my personal favorite unsung Latin American hero Benito Juarez.

  39. 39

    @Legalize:

    And Michelle Malkin pounds out some hate porn.

    That’s not very helpful for telling it apart from any other day, you know.

  40. 40
    Montysano says:

    Since Mexico is the topic: I spent my recent unexpected 5 day holiday (with no power, due to tornadoes here in Alabama) reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Lacuna”. I highly recommend it. Mrs. Monty and I have enjoyed all of Kingsolver’s novels, but The Lacuna is truly epic, spanning decades and spinning a tale that involves Trotsky, Diego and Frida, WWII, etc.

  41. 41
    Marmot says:

    Along with sour cream on tacos, she thinks Cinco de Mayo is strictly for gringos.

    Ha! Movin’ to Central Texas from the border, I winced at sour cream and capers and currants and whatnot in “Tex-Mex.” It was only later I learned that it’s weirdly awesome in its own right.

    By the way, is it just me, or is Cinco de Mayo celebrated more in California than any other U.S. state? It’s not a huge deal here.

  42. 42

    @EIGRP:
    You’ll never go too far wrong with Sauza Hornitos.

  43. 43
    piratedan says:

    here in Baja Arizona, we rarely turn down a good excuse for a fiesta

  44. 44
    RossInDetroit says:

    Yeah, tequila. No.
    Liz Phair, yes.

  45. 45
    nancydarling says:

    @Valdivia: Benito Juarez is one of my favorites, too. The history of Mexico at that time is as fascinating as our Civil War Era. Juarez was a full blood Zapotec Indian—imagine the US electing an Indian president in 1858 or any other year til lately. Lincoln is a great hero to the Mexican people. I may be mis-remembering, but I think there is a statue of Lincoln in present day Cd. Juarez. I just googled it and there is definitely a statue of Lincoln there. Check out Benito on wiki. There also exists correspondence between Juarez and Lincoln. Lincoln opposed the Mexican American War as a young congressmen.

  46. 46
    Ahasuerus says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: The activist in me says that people should send boxes of pencils to this congressclown’s office. The hooligan/attention whore in me says that people should show up at his public events and lob unsharpened pencils at the podium. I’m ignoring that part of me which say the pencils should be sharpened, thrown, and properly aimed.

  47. 47
    PurpleGirl says:

    @David: Thanks for the link. I’ll listen to it later today. I heard Janny Scott on NY1 last night (7 p.m., Inside City Hall) and she had an article based on the book in the NY Times last week. Stanley Ann Dunham sounds like a remarkable woman; I look forward to reading the book.

    On topic: Americans tend to be very ignorant of Mexican history. I knew that May 5th was in honor of the battle of Peubla and that it involved France and that there were a number of battles that led to Maximillian being forced out of Mexico. And so many people in the Southwest don’t know about the Cession of 1848 and the number of people who can say their families were there predating the American take-over. I like Mexican food, so I’ll have some today to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

  48. 48
    Valdivia says:

    @nancydarling:

    Yay! Someone else who knows my hero. You have no idea how much I appreciate this. I *love* me some Juarez. Most people actually have no idea how advanced his ideas were for the Liberal Constitution of 58, and how it shaped the tenor of Mexican history even determining a lot of what happened during and after the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution.

    There is a statue of Juarez in DC, I see it all the time and bow in awe in its direction. I may be the only one who actually gets it!

    Also, too. Lincoln would have helped earlier but could not because of our Civil War but his help *was* crucial.

    Thanks for the tip about the correspondence between them/ runs out to look for it.

  49. 49
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: Loved Gaiman’s comments back to the idiot. And can we mentioned that Sarah Palin gets in the area of $100,000 for her appearances? Or that her daughter, Grifter Jr., get around $35,000 for a speech?

  50. 50
    ant says:

    Margarita recipe:

    1. tequila
    2. splash orange liqueur
    3. splash triple sec
    4. Splash sweet sour (optional)
    5. top off with grapefruit/orange juice.

    yum.

    as a side note, I brought this taquila home from mexico last time, and its absoulutly the best tequila I’ve ever had.

  51. 51
    Muley Graves says:

    Costco, at least the ones here in the Republic of California, sell an exceptionally good house-branded silver tequila.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Oh, no wonder Boner doesn’t want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

    It’s a day that was bad for the Confederacy.

    Makes sense.

  53. 53
    RobertB says:

    Some critic described Liz Phair’s voice as a ‘nasal honk’. I love her, but she can’t sing worth a lick.

  54. 54
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @PurpleGirl: Ah but CBS News thought it might be newsworthy to interview Grifter Jr so she could tell us how hard it is being a single mom. Imagine how hard it would be if she had to work at McDonald’s which is really all she’s qualified to do. Media fail.
    @Ahasuerus: I support your efforts although it really is a waste of a good pencil.
    @ppcli: Yep.

  55. 55
    nancydarling says:

    I just have to subject y’all to this. The only reason I know about this song is because Cindy Jordan was a patient in a dental office where I worked in SoCal back in the day. She wrote and recorded this and it was a big hit on the C&W charts in the 80’s. Here is “Jose Cuervo, You Are a Friend of Mine”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlYLSXU8ZcE

  56. 56
    Michael D. says:

    My mom’s the kind of Mexican…

    Dude, you’re part Mexican?
    Did John run you through e-Verify before he allowed you to post here?
    I bet you were an anchor baby!

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Marmot:

    By the way, is it just me, or is Cinco de Mayo celebrated more in California than any other U.S. state?

    It’s pretty big out here as far as I can tell. My office is having a Cinco de Mayo party tonight.

    At least in the LA area, it really does seem to be St. Patrick’s Day for Mexican-Americans — not just the drinking, but all of the cultural festivals, folk dance demonstrations, etc. They’re already doing Cinco de Mayo parades in cities like Chicago similar to the parades that Irish-Americans do on St. Patrick’s Day or Italian-Americans do on Columbus Day. And, y’know, if people without a drop of Irish blood can get stumbling drunk and demand to be kissed to honor my ancestors, I don’t see why Mexican-Americans shouldn’t be able to celebrate their heritage, too.

    Plus I like tequila more than beer.

  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @Ahasuerus: “sharpened, _dipped in curare_ , thrown, and properly aimed.”

    Fixt.

  59. 59
    kindness says:

    The dingo ate my comment!!!

    Just as well I guess. If you are gonna drink tequila, life is too short to not stick to the good stuff. Let the kids drink the Jose Cuervo.

  60. 60
    The Bobs says:

    @ant: A margarita recipe with no lime juice (fresh of course)is worthless.

  61. 61
    smedley says:

    @cleek: Criteria #2: No Plastic worms

  62. 62
    smedley says:

    @EIGRP: Good tequils is in two parts: flavor and cost. Herradura fits the bill nicely for me.

  63. 63
    MaskedBandit says:

    At least in Los Lunas, we had mariachi bands play during our middle school and high school lunches on Cinco de Mayo. Los Lunas was mostly Hispanic when I moved there. It may have been different elsewhere, but in New Mexico, Cinco de Mayo never seemed to be something pushed by outside the resident culture.

    Heck, I don’t remember it being popular at all outside the state at the time. (Admittedly, that was over 21 years now. Weird.)

  64. 64
    EIGRP says:

    @cleek, @smedley: yeah, no plastic here, although I think we might have a fifth of butterscotch schnapps that is in plastic.

    I’ve been pretty happy with 1800 Anejo, especially when I get it in the 1.5L (or is it 1.75L?) bottle. There’s gotta be something I can make out of those bottles.

    While walking around Century Liquor (Wegmans!), I saw a $400 bottle of tequila locked in a cabinet. Who drinks that stuff?

    Eric

  65. 65
    Sasha says:

    It’s basically a Hispanic St. Patrick’s Day — an excuse to party and drink.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that …

  66. 66
    Tuttle says:

    @Jay C: It’s not the ‘reason’ the French didn’t support the Confederacy, it’s what kept them from being able to support the Confederacy until after the battle of Gettysburg (which switched French opinion on such support) and it kept the northern desert accessible for Juarez and his Republican remnants to retreat to.

    There’s another holiday that commemorates a part of the Battle of Puebla as well; Camaron Day on April 30. It’s celebrated by the French Foreign Legion to celebrate one of their infantry units being wiped out by the Mexicans. They’re weird that way.

  67. 67
    agorabum says:

    @The Bobs: YES!
    Do NOT use sweet and sour mix.
    Buy limes. Buy sugar. Even better: buy agave syrup if you can; it mixes better (already liquid) and agave = tequila.
    Then you can flavor your margarita to taste.
    If you are lazy, buy lime juice. But don’t buy the sweet n sour mix.
    I like mine strong, so my ratio is:
    3 oz Cazadores Tequila
    1/2 – 1 teaspoon lime juice
    teaspoon of Agave syrup
    1/2 oz of triple sec (gran marnier or Cointreau is better)
    A dash of orange bitters if ya got ’em (if not, not a worry)

    Mix all of the above. Then: add ice, stir, and add a small wedge of lime. Smile.

  68. 68
    el_gallo says:

    @ant:
    Heresy! Instead, put all of this in a shaker:

    4 ice cubes
    1 & 1/2 oz silver tequila, must be 100% agave
    1/4 oz agave syrup
    juice of one juicy lime, (or two crappy dryish limes)

    Shake for 30 full seconds
    Strain over ice.

    Grapefruit juice in a margarita. Harumph, sir or madam, harumph!

  69. 69
    pragmatism says:

    tijuana is pretty much a ghost town these days but back when there was some cartel stability, there was one day each year when it was sure to be a ghost town: cinco de mayo.

  70. 70
    vaux-rien says:

    There’s an academic paper on the subject here (pdf) which sort of confirms that yes, it’s bigger in California than in Mexico and that it has been for a very long time. I guess institutional celebrations sort of waned between 1867 and the 1920s or ’30s but it’s a genuine tradition out there. It’s understandable though that Mexicans and more recent immigrants might find it a little baffling.

  71. 71
    nancydarling says:

    @agorabum: I had a Mexican lime tree in my garden in California. Mexican limes are magic; you can squeeze and squeeze them and never get all the juice out. I also had a lemon tree that I miss very much. Maybe I’ll have a greenhouse someday and try my luck. It goes against my grain to pay for lemons and limes now.

    I CAN grow lilacs here in NW Arkansas. I spent a fortune trying to grow them in SoCal. I was a sucker for every new variety that supposedly did not need a winter season.

  72. 72
    Jay C says:

    @Tuttle: @Valdivia:

    Yes, my comment may have been a bit condensed, sorry: history is often hard to fit in a blogpost.

    But yes, Benito Juarez was an interesting character: one of the premier statesmen of the 19th Century: had he been European, rather than Mexican, he’d probably be a known-the-world-over Famous Personage: as it is, he still deserves a hat-tip or two.

    Anyway: here’s my favorite margarita formula:

    3 units tequila (note 1)
    2 units unsweetened lemon-lime bar mix (note 2)
    1 unit half triple sec, half Rose’s Lime Juice

    Mix well, pour, drink.

    note 1: I prefer cheap silver tequila, any kind will do.
    note 2: try to find unsweetened, but if you must, regular bottled margarita (usually sweetened) will do.

  73. 73
    Lean like a gringo says:

    Along with sour cream on tacos, she thinks Cinco de Mayo is strictly for gringos.

    Hey, settle down, Mexicans. Sour cream on tacos is delicious. I don’t like soft corn tortillas or lengua, but you won’t see me getting all mouthy about it.

  74. 74

    […] Cinco de Mayo (balloon-juice.com) […]

  75. 75
    Kmeyer the lurker says:

    My wife & I spent our honeymoon backpacking across southern Mexico, and I remember waking up one day, realizing it was Cinco de Mayo, and worrying because I had to go to a bank. The bank, of course, was open and when I told the teller ‘Feliz Cinco de Mayo’ she looked at me cock-eyed. It’s strictly for los mexicanos nortenos.

  76. 76
    Cain says:

    My biggest wish is if Mexico created a holiday lamenting the loss of her territory during the mexican-spanish war. Oh man, I can’t imagine what kind of hate that would come from that. It would totally piss off a lot of people.. Mexico should continue to sneer at the U.S. any chance they get.

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