by Derrick Lesnau
Often incorrectly referred to as Mexican Independence Day (el Diez y Seis de Septiembre), Cinco de Mayo is a holiday (if you can even call it that) celebrated more in the U.S. than it is in Mexico. The only part of Mexico that really celebrates this day is the state of Puebla, where the Mexican army of 4,000 defeated the occupying French army of 8,000 at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. You’re welcome for that history lesson by the way.
So how did this day become a day for all of the U.S. to throw a Fiesta? I mean, even people who have zero Mexican heritage want to become Mexican for a day on Cinco de Mayo. It’s kind of like how everybody seems to become Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m convinced Corona sells more beer on this day than they sell the other 364 days of the year. Gringos everywhere will be drinking too much tequila today and wearing over-sized sombreros & brightly colored panchos, acting a fool wherever they go. I think we just like to look for an excuse to throw a party and celebrate. Who cares if most of the U.S. doesn’t even know that Cinco de Mayo has nothing to do with Mexican Independence? If there’s a reason to throw a party, we’ll find it and capitalize on it, even if it is a small, localized holiday to our neighbors across the Rio Grande. It’s a good lesson: Celebrate even the small stuff.
We see that attitude every day at the Ronald McDonald House. Families have children in the hospital undergoing various treatments and when small successes occur, you can see parents’ faces brighten up and they want to share those small successes with everybody in the House. Being able to celebrate these small successes gives hope and helps maintain focus on the eventual larger success of being able to return home with their children. It’s a great thing to experience day-in and day-out.
Happy Cinco de Mayo and remember to keep celebrating your small successes. Now where’s my margarita?