Lately I’ve noticed that every year we spring into summer, I pay less and less attention to what used to be a really fun holiday for me. Cinco de Mayo, as most people know, celebrates the Battle of Puebla, when a smaller and less-equipped Mexican force kicked some French behind.
Sure, they would come back and win the war, but who cares? It created Cinco de Mayo!
For me, this fiesta always served as a bridge from the best weather in the world into what is arguably one of the most brutal three-month periods anywhere. I would celebrate it with the best of them.
After surviving the summer, around mid-September, I would feel obligated to participate in the actual celebration commemorating Mexico’s independence from the dastardly Spaniards on September 16. This event was never nearly as fun and it never really included too many non-Latino revelers.
So how does a mere battle triumph overshadow a victory of independence? I’ll tell you how, but the answer requires your participation. It’ll be fun, trust me. Maybe not as fun as the games you’ll play at Salty Señorita or Dos Gringos, but it will be fun.
Here we go: As fast as you can, shout ¡Dieciséis de septiembre! three times followed by an annoying (to some, anyway) ¡Ay, ay, ay!
Not too easy, is it? Try getting the fraternity brothers at Drink A-Lotta Brew to join that party. Nope, for them and for virtually everyone else, the celebration of choice is the incredibly easy-to-roll-off-the-tongue cinco de mayo! It’s a beer marketer’s dream.
Imagine this scene, where an opportunistic Dylan asks out a fellow coed named Jennifer in early May. It might go something like this: “So, Jen, what are you, like, doing for Cinco?” (Could a pickup line get any smoother?)
Now fast-forward to September. Same situation, same players. “Hey, Jen, uh, what are you, like, doing for deis deis de cinco? I mean, dies y sixteen de Septembray? Aw, forget it.” Not good for Dylan, not good for romance, and ultimately not good for beer sales.
Somewhere along the way, Cinco de Mayo became less cultural celebration and more a reason to party, much in the way St. Patrick’s Day is for many. Dressing up in lots of green and drinking lots of green beer while attempting your best Irish brogue isn’t too much different than wearing a sombrero, drinking lots of tequila and screaming, ay, ay, ay!
I guess Cinco de Mayo has gone the way of manifest destiny. And who cares, really. Enjoy it, world. Just lay off the sombreros y margaritas a bit.