I woke up today to the pounding of pouring rain and wind. Hardly the Cinco de Mayo's of my childhood. Growing up in Southern California, Cinco de Mayo was always a huge holiday with lots of sun, fun and friends. My father was born in Columbia and raised in Panama and my mother was born in Nicaragua and moved to New York as a teen, but the fact that we are Hispanic at all gave us the right somehow to proclaim the holiday our own.
I can remember Olvera Street in Los Angeles with all it's shops and stands. Narrow at times and filled with visotors then wide open with room enough to dance. I never did, too shy I guess, but I always enjoyed seeing the beautiful dresses of the dancers and the elegant gate of the men. I would buy my one small souvenir and home I would go before the real celebration would begin. I like to remember it this way and I am glad I was never there in the evening when I am sure my childhood memories would have been tainted.
Today we will celebrate with a "Happy Cinco de Mayo" hug and a little history of what it all means. Technically, Cinco de Mayo isn't even a national holiday in Mexico. It only marks the victory of the Mexican army against the French at The Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Like fortune cookies at a Chinese restaurant and corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty's Day, Cinco de Mayo is more an American Celebration than a Mexican one.
Well, enjoy it anyway. Have a Margarita and some chips and salsa or do as I do and hang a sombrero on your door; however you choose to celebrate remember we live in a great country with lots of diversity, let's embrace each others cultures with respect and dignity.