Gearing Up for Cinco de Mayo May 03 2012

As I look back at how Cinco de Mayo has evolved in this country over the last 20 years, I can't help but think it's headed the way of St. Patrick's Day and will one day be known not necessarily because its roots and history, but just as a Mexican heritage cultural celebration. And I'm fine with that. In fact, I love this. With kids, though, you always want to explain the 'why' so it's worth brushing up on this holiday's history. This AP story has some great bits of information that I did not know about, namely the tie to the slavery and civil rights in the U.S. It also brings up the fact that I think resonates with a lot of folks, which is that at its core, this is a story of David versus Goliath.

Often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day (that's Sept. 16), Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla between the victorious ragtag army of largely Mexican Indian soldiers against the invading French forces of Napoleon III. Mexican Americans, during the Chicano Movement of the 1970s, adopted the holiday for its David vs. Goliath storyline as motivation for civil rights struggles in Texas and California.

Si Se Puede! No wonder I like this holiday.

For my family, it's a chance to celebrate our Mexican-American culture through food, decorations and good music. I bought these mini-piƱatas as table decorations. We'll be heading to my mom's house and I caught a glimpse of her stockpile of decorations the other day. Can't wait, especially for those tasty fajitas, guacamole, pico de gallo and margaritas! Oh, and playing Loteria will be a blast.