50 Hats of Aztec (There’s History Under Those Hats) Cinco de Mayo
Hat provided by Dr. Martha Huck:: Huck Equine Clinic
Meet Emirah, Aztec’s adopted sister. She is my wife’s Desert Breed Arabian. Emirah is the inspiration for this post about Cinco de Mayo. She has spent the last few weeks at a veterinary clinic.
Emirah developed an eye problem for which she is being treated. She has gotten comfortable with her doctor and vice versa. On Cinco de Mayo, her doctor put a sombrero on her head, I guess to recognize the day and then sent us a couple of photos. I thought they would be appropriate to include as part of Aztec’s history blog.
Did you know Cinco de Mayo is often confused with the celebration of Mexican independence? Actually, Independence Day (Día de la Independencia) in Mexico is celebrated 16 September. It is the day Father Miguel Y Costilla urged Mexicans to rise up against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.
On May 5, 1862, during the Franco-Mexican War, the Mexican army won a battle that lasted nearly five hours against a much superior French Army. The Mexican army was outnumbered nearly two to one. The French sent 4500 to battle that day. They lost around 500 solders. The Mexican army less than 100. Although it was not the biggest victory for the Mexican army during the war, that battle was considered a major symbolic victory for the Mexican resistance.
Four days later on May 9, 1862, President Benito Juárez declared that the 5th of May would be a national holiday recognizing it as ”Battle of Puebla Day” or Battle of Cinco de Mayo”. In the town of Puebla, where the actual battle took place, there are parades where people dress up as Mexican and French soldiers. Vendors sell traditional food and patriotic clothing. You may even find a reenactment of that battle.
But for the most part, The Battle of Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated as a national holiday in Mexico. Public schools though are closed on 5th of May.
In the US it is recognized as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. In the 1960s Chicano activist used the holiday to raise awareness of the Mexican American civil rights movement.
Some of the largest Cinco de Mayo festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. In these cities you are likely to find parades, and a more than usual amount of parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, and tradition foods.
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in other parts of the world as well. For instance, in Vancouver, Canada there is an annual skydiving event. In the Cayman Islands there is an annual air guitar competition. Residents of the island of Malta are encouraged to drink Mexican beer.
Some interesting facts about Cinco de Mayo
- Did you know Cinco de Mayo is significant to the United States because it is the last time a foreign power invaded North America?
- The first Cinco de Mayo celebration took place in southern California in 1863.
- Los Angeles has the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world. It’s called Fiesta Broadway, with over half a million people attending.
- Cinco de Mayo is only one of 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent.
- According to the California Avocado Commission, around 87 million pounds of avocados are used by Americans during Cinco de Mayo.
- Jimmy Buffet sang about Margaretville. Do you enjoy margaritas? Cinco de Mayo is, of course, the biggest one day sale of margaritas. Americans consume about 2.9 Billion dollars’ worth of margaritas each year.
Cinco de Mayo is really a celebration of a Mexican battle of military significance. The day is a celebration of Mexican national heritage and pride. It is also a great way to instruct children about the history of Mexico and a perfect excuse to enjoy your favorite Mexican food and drink.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!!
It sort of looks as if Emirah did a bit of celebrating, don’t you think?