Things You Probably Shouldn’t Say/Do on Cinco de Mayo
¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo, friends!
It’s no question that this holiday has been, um — highly commercialized in the United States, so before you get ready to celebrate — consider the following.
1. Please don’t ask if it’s Mexico’s “Independence Day”.
Sorry to break it to you, folks — but Cinco de Mayo is not equivalent to Fourth of July. Before the idea of sombreros, maracas, and margaritas were popularized, the date mainly commemorated the Mexican Army’s incredibly difficult victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The battle was won under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza.
So, what about Mexico’s Independence Day? Día de la Independencia actually takes place on September 16, 1810, so if you’re just dying to celebrate my country’s independence — you’ll have to wait a couple of months.
2. Please don’t ask your Mexican friend what their plans are.
Now, this one is a classic — it gets me every time. One of the greatest misconceptions is that all Mexicans go out of their way to celebrate the holiday, but that could not be further from the truth. In Mexico, the holiday is not celebrated nationwide. If there are festivities, however, they take place in Puebla, you know — where the battle actually occurred.
Now, for those of us Mexican-Americans living in the states — it’s a bit different. Yes — you’re going to come across those that are opposed to the commercialization of the holiday, and that is completely okay. Then, you’ll come across those like my family. Though we fully understand the origins of the holiday, we just like to have fun. So, will we probably partake in the taco-eating, margarita-drinking festivities? Yes — but that’s no different than any other Saturday night for us.
But, back to the point — best not to assume that your token Mexican friend is going to have elaborate plans for Cinco de Mayo.
3. Please refrain from wearing sombreros, sarapes, fake mustaches, etc.
And, please refrain from taking and/or posting pictures in said attire. It’s a stereotype, it’s offensive, and — it’s not cute. We should all know better than to do this by now.
Now, before you get your panties in a wad — I’m not saying that you shouldn’t celebrate this (fake) holiday, but if you plan to do so — please be mindful of how you do it.
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