Cinco de Mayo Hangover

6 May

So it’s the day after Cinco de Mayo.  I didn’t celebrate, mainly because I didn’t plan a party.  Well, I did have a great twitter chat party with my #latism family.  That was in itself a celebration.  Anyway, it was because of that chat that I type this post.

I celebrated Cinco de Mayo for years in college (and some after) with at a fiesta that included a Miss Cinco de Mayo pageant, Little Miss Cinco, Menudo cook off and of course, a baila!  I even entered the pageant once.  Thanks Crystal for insisting that I participate in that pageant with you.  She was a pageant girl, I wasn’t.  Sure was fun though!  Now, if I only had those pictures, a laugh for everyone!  My dress was gold sequins!

This fiesta was an event that I would look forward to year after year.  I made plans around this event and celebration.  Today, I realized that I never really celebrated “Cinco de Mayo“.  I partied!  What a great excuse to party!  And I think that this is true for many Americans.  The alcoholic beverage companies are certainly happy that we do have an excuse to party, they definitely contribute to creating the party with advertisements and literally sponsoring las fiestas.  There is nothing wrong with partying!  (I love how “party” is turned into a verb, by the way.)

It’s just time for me to celebrate in a different way.  What do people around me know about Cinco de Mayo?  I don’t know, I haven’t asked them.  Wouldn’t this be a great time to educate others while we “party”?!  Wait, what do I know about Cinco de Mayo?!

Here’s what I know:

  • It’s turned into a Party Holiday much like St. Patrick’s Day.  And it’s here to stay, cervezas, margaritas and more!
  • I can wear a sombrero and variation of the Mexican flag.  Oh, and I need one of those “peasant dresses.”  I should be able to find one in San Antonio, no?!
  • It is NOT Mexican Independence Day.  That is September 16th.
  • Time to eat my favorite Mexican food!  Okay, I eat Mexican food everyday.  Sooo, time to share my favorite Mexican food?
  • ‘Tis a day to embrace my own heritage.  I get that the Battle of Puebla doesn’t encompass all of Mexico’s history.  It does bring about a sense of Mexican pride.  Can’t explain it, it just does.  This is something that I don’t do everyday: think, “I should learn more about my heritage.” So, on Cinco de Mayo, I should! (learn and share)

Seriously, William Booth’s story has made me even more aware of today’s Mexico…the drug war they are in now…all the innocent deaths, violence and sadness.  I don’t think Mexicans and others who have lost loved ones in this war are celebrating.

This is a holiday that I enjoy celebrating and don’t know why I am celebrating.  A holiday that somehow stirs up so much cultural pride in me and at the same time in Mexico it is culturally a minor holiday.

Next year, I hope the holiday to remind me of my heritage and in honor of that, I will share with others what I am proud of and what I have learned about my heritage. Creating it to be an eating holiday and less of a drinking holiday, we will celebrate with food, family y amigos.  My children and other people around me deserve to know the history and some beautiful parts of Mexican heritage.  Things I still am learning myself. 

And as I spend this next year searching and learning and sharing, I pray for the victims of today’s war in Mexico.  And I will not forget them as we continue to celebrate their country’s holiday.

Read “Don’t You Cinco de Mayo Me” from Elianne Ramos about how it came about to be a major “unofficial” holiday.

Melanie Mendez Gonzales

Original content creator for Que Means What. Latina mom blogger in Texas sharing experiences about parenting, about her cultural 'identity crisis' as a Texicana: Mexican decent born in Texas, never lived in Mexico. Melanie also supports small business owners through social media management.

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