Happy Cinco de Mayo week…a toast to Mexican Independence Day!!! Or is it? As an American, that is what I have always been taught, but now that I spend part of my life in Mexico, I have been educated to the true meaning of this mostly American holiday! First and foremost, Cinco de Mayo does not celebrate Mexican Independence Day… Independence Day is September 16. Are you as surprised as I was? Most Mexicans truly don’t “get” why those of us north of the border make such a fuss over May 5th.
The truth is that May 5 is the commemoration of the victory of the Mexican army over the French army in the state of Puebla in 1862! Known as the Battle of Puebla, this unlikely victory over France was such a surprise, because of the vast difference in the two armies. Mexico had about 4,000 soldiers, inadequate supplies and artillery, while the French army boasted some 8,000 soldiers and elite supplies. This battle took place 50 years AFTER Mexico’s independence from Spain. So only in the state of Puebla (where May 5th is considered a state holiday) will there be festivities and celebrations. The rest of Mexico will hardly even notice. May 5th will be a regular weekend day.
However, when September 16 arrives…stand back! Mexican Independence Day is a celebration like no other! I have been on the island on Independence Day and it is truly a treat celebrating with robust gusto and fiestas that will blow your mind! But since I happen to be in Texas on this week of Cinco de Mayo, I will join the masses here, decorate and celebrate (the Battle of Puebla) with the gusto that I will see in Mexico in September!
Pictures of our Texas casa show our Mexican style doors decorated with two blue traditional sombreros and embellished with colorful streamers. The two child size equipale turquoise chairs were discovered in a consignment shop here several years ago and find themselves rotating in different places in this casa. Bright red geraniums and draping ice plants enhance the entrance to our colorful casa. Two large pinatas (the traditional donkey and the unexpected bull) are decked out with straw sombreros and traditional Mexican blankets. The deep green sombrero on the red door greets and welcomes each to our home.
As you enter our living area, a built-in banco (bench) and equipale chairs, from south of the border, surround an OTOMI draped round table, ready and waiting for some genuine Mexican cuisine! The wine room boasts colorful artwork by MOSO entitled BOTTLES. The colors of the original art on a rugged wood surface was, for me, a must have. Below is a delightful piñata pulling a thrift store wood cart that has served many purposes in this house. Pictures also include my dedication to a strictly south of the border menu to celebrate the victory of Mexico over France at Pueblo on May 5, 1862! So tip your cerveza and raise your salt-rimmed frozen margarita this weekend to a well fought battle. Hey, we can celebrate again on September 16.. Mexican Independence Day! -E