A lot of people describe Miami as a melting pot, but truth be told, the United States as a whole is the epitome of a melting pot. And that is because there is no better word to describe a nation shaped by an array of great cultures that contribute to the richness and diversity of the country.
One of the most prominent cultures is the Mexican culture, which makes up for 63 percent of all the Hispanics living in the U.S. And that, mis amigos, is a big slice of the pie. In other words, there are over 35 million Mexicans comprising this country. It makes sense seeing as Mexico and the U.S. are neighbors that share a love-hate relationship; Mexicans loving to come to the U.S, and Trump and his Mexican-hating squad are trying to prevent them from coming by building a wall.
But this only means that there are over 35 million reasons (and Google) as to why we should know that we drink margaritas and eat tacos TODAY! Granted, margaritas and tacos sound good any day, but if you need an excuse, today is your day: Mexico parties in honor of its Independence Day!
I bet most of you weren’t aware of that, but don’t you worry, we are here to clear things up. Therefore, YOU (if you aren’t Mexican) need to get your facts straight and start looking forward to September -rather than May- and stop congratulating the Mexican folks when Cinco de Mayo comes around. You can still have tacos, tequila and margaritas that day, just omit the congrats.
Here are 5 facts about the Mexican celebration:
- Mexico’s Independence Day or Grito De Dolores. On September 16, 1810, the people of Mexico initiated a war led by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla to be freed from the Spanish yoke.
- Who is Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla? Miguel Hidalgo was a priest who gave the famous speech “El Grito de Dolores” (The Cry of Dolores) urging Indians, the half-bloods and the criollos to stand up against the Spanish colony in order to obtain freedom.
- The U.S. and The Cry of Dolores. When the people of Mexico began fighting for their liberty in 1810, New Mexico, California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Texas still belonged to the Mexican Republic. This was the latter’s first push for independence.
- 11 years of war. The Mexican battle for independence went on from 1810 -1821. On September 27, 1821, Mexico proclaimed its victory over the Spaniards. Since then, Mexico celebrates its independence every September 16 at midnight with a huge fiesta.
- So, What’s Cinco de Mayo then? Cinco de Mayo, which means May 5th , is not a federal holiday in Mexico; however, it commemorates the day that Mexican troops defeated the French during La Batalla de Puebla (The Battle of Puebla) which took place on May 5th, 1862 five decades after El Grito.
It is still unclear as to when and where the American people adopted Cinco de Mayo as a holiday and how it even got related to Mexico’s Independence. Many believe it was just a marketing strategy, which is not bad, but let’s at least celebrate the right day.
So, congrats to Mexico for 206 years of freedom!
By Cynthia P. Bautista