Sunday, May 5, 2019

Celebrate the real reason for Cinco De Mayo, a Mexican victory over the French that may have helped save the Union


¡Feliz Cinco De Mayo!  I begin today's celebration with an excerpt from David Von Drehle of The Washington Post about American's misunderstanding of today — We get Cinco de Mayo wrong. But we’re not wrong to celebrate it.*
This annual celebration of Mexican culture gets bigger every year, fueled mainly by America’s love of a good party. Folks who aren’t from Mexico are often surprised to learn, as they quaff margaritas or savor tacos al carbon, that the holiday matters much less south of the border. Many mistakenly believe that May 5 is Mexican Independence Day, but that’s Sept. 16.

But it’s entirely appropriate that Cinco de Mayo matters more in the United States. The event commemorated on this holiday was a triumph of Mexican spirit and courage. For us, though, it just might have saved our nation.
I'll get to why the event the day celebrates is important to Americans later.  First, I'll let The History Channel explain the origin of the holiday in Cinco De Mayo: A Celebration of Mexican Heritage.

Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army's successful defense of the city of Puebla against invading French forces in 1862.
The timing of all these events was important for the United States, as it took place during the American Civil War.  David Von Drehle makes that point clear as well.
As it happened, the tide of the Civil War was just about to swing away from the North. In the summer of 1862, a Union campaign against the Confederate capital of Richmond fell to pieces and the rebels advanced on all fronts. Pressure for European intervention reached the boiling point.

Had a triumphant French army been raising the flag in Mexico City that summer, it might have made all the difference. The wavering Napoleon might have been emboldened to recognize the Confederacy, pulling the British along with him. Instead, the French army was licking its wounds, mangled by a smaller force of Mexican irregulars, and the emperor was momentarily chastened. Though France managed to topple the Mexican government the following year, its brief reign there came too late to help the South. The North had regained its momentum, and Lincoln was on his way to saving the Union.
So the Mexican victory over the French, while it only delayed the conquest of the country, ended up being important in preventing European intervention in favor of the Confederacy.  That alone is reason for Americans to celebrate.

Follow over the jump for videos about the Detroit's Cinco De Mayo festivities and two drink recipes from Tipsy Bartender.

Since this is a Detroit-based blog, it's only fitting I feature the local celebration of the holiday, so here's WXYZ's Celebrating Cinco de Mayo.


Of course, this would not be a Cinco De Mayo entry of mine without a drink recipe from Tipsy Bartender, so here are two of the most recent, beginning with Mango Sorbet Tequila.

A delicious tequila mango combination. Welcome Jenny to the Tipsy Family.
Now for something I've avoided the past two years, a margarita recipe, Cinco de Mayo Margarita Fishbowl.

It's Cinco de Mayo and I'm here with Bobbi!
As Skyy used to say, drink responsibly!

That's it for this year's celebration of Cinco De Mayo.  Stay tuned tomorrow for an entry looking forward to upcoming Star Wars properties for the Revenge of the Sixth.

*My original plan for today's post was to write about the Saturn Awards nominations for "Roma," which I expect will be nominated for Best International Film, just as I wrote last year for "Coco" at the Saturn Awards for Cinco De Mayo.  However, as I complained yesterday, this year's Saturn Awards nominations have not been announced.  At least I had a plan B!

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