Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo isn't Mexico's Independence Day

viva mexico

As always, with 5 de mayo celebrations happening in US, I have this mixed feelings. I feel happy that there's a celebration that recognizes Mexican immigrants' influence in US, their heritage and pride, but at the same time, I find strange that this day has evolved in this huge celebration in US and besides, sometimes I think that some Americans believe this day is Mexico's Independence Day.

And just so you know, this is not the day we celebrate Independence. Mexicans celebrate that day on September 16th, because it was the day a priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, called people who lived in Mexico under the government of Spaniards to battle against them.

But even with this confusion, it was very nice to be able to see US President Barack Obama adressing people celebrating the day in the White House. He looks sincere in his way to treat Mexicans and I hope he will be a good neighbor as he said in this video:

Update: A curious fact was brought to my attention by @jhapik in Twitter, the general who fought the Battle of Puebla (which occurred on May 5th), Ignacio Zaragoza, was born in Texas when this state was part of Mexico. So he was Mexican and Texan at the same time.

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Aleks said...

Actually, I think Zaragoza's origin is maybe one of the reasons US gives more attention to Cinco de Mayo than 16 de Septiembre.

You know, an american-mexican is more important than a simple mexican to them, I guess.

Anyway, the speech of Obama was excellent and seemed authentic, as usual. He is really making an effort to show a change with Bush's ways of doing politics.

What I liked is the joy of Obama when he recognized the mexican "food"!

Rosaura Ochoa said...

People in the US don't even try to guess what "5 de Mayo" means, the only thing they care about on that day is about drink margaritas and eat Mexican food in a cantina-restaurant, but really Kary, the average citizen in the US don't even think about what that Mexican celebration means.
Actually, is hard for many of them to know what some of the U.S holidays mean, their own holidays! That shame is not exclusive of American citizens, many Mexicans don't know what May 5th and other national holidays are about in history. I remember myself making surveys in the street in Mexico to test them, it was sad.

Karina Velazquez said...

Aleks: Yes, I thought so also, but since it's not verifiable (even if your guess is probably not so off the mark, hehehe) I better didn't put it in the post.

I always like Obama's speeches, he is a natural and I don't have the feeling of something written by other people (even when I'm sure he doesn't write his stuff anymore). And yes, he likes Mexican food (really, who doesn't after tasting it, lol).

Rosaura: Sad situation, that they only participate because this is an opportunity to drink margaritas. I was thinking a little more in Mexican immigrants than US citizens, but those who are a little interested also doesn't seem to know what Cinco de Mayo is and what it isn't.

But yes, in both countries seems History is for some peoplee something we don't know and we don't remember, and therefore we keep making the same mistakes. That's the saddest thing.