May 5th is the day that more and more Americans celebrate
¡Cinco de Mayo!
For many, the holiday provides the perfect excuse
for stirring up a pitcher of margaritas
and eating tortilla chips and guacamole.
The Mexican coat of arms, from en.wikipedia.org
According to an article by May Herz, published on the website Inside Mexico
this holiday is of historical importance in Mexico
because it marks the day in 1862 when Mexican liberal forces
defeated Napoleon III's French troops
in their quest to capture Mexico City.
This victory took place in the free and sovereign Mexican state of Puebla.
Herz says that following Mexican independence from Spain in 1821,
France, Britain, and later even Spain,
loaned money to the newly established government.
But Mexico could not continue payments on the debt,
so President Benito Juarez notified the countries that Mexico
would suspend payments for two years and resume them at the end of that time.
Apparently, everyone agreed except for Napoleon III of France,
who decided to take Mexico as collateral.
So while Mexico became an independent country on 16 September 1821,
it preserved its independence on 5 May 1862.
photo from Google images, brittanica.com
And that's why Cinco de Mayo is a special day of celebration in Mexico.
I suppose that in the US, Cinco de Mayo is destined to be more like St. Patrick's Day
when everyone is Irish for 24 hours.
But for some, it will always be more than that.