We’ve been doing this all wrong.
Growing up in LA with a May 5 birthday, I was steeped from the beginning in the whole “Cinco de Mayo” thing, the “Mexican Independence Day” that’s not. It had yet to turn into the beer marketing event that it is today. I realize now that the community I lived in wasn’t as gracefully integrated as it seemed to me as a child, but being the Cinco de Mayo boy made we want to embrace my role as an honorary Mexican. What can I say. I was a kid. It was before I learned about the zoot suit riots, before I learned how complicated race and nation are.
Now the whole beer party element just pisses me off.
So here’s my suggestion. In addition to marking the anniversary of the Mexican victory over the French at Puebla, May 5 also is the anniversary of the Canadian liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi rule. That’s worth celebrating, right? And one presumes the Dutch do beer well?
So happy Vijf Mei.
The beer here is so-so vs. Belgium, but the Dutch surely do celebrate whenever it comes to freedom from the Germans. (There was a big ceremony in the Dam in Amsterdam on 4 May, which is more important.)