A Rumination on Cinco de Mayo

Today marks the victory of Mexico over France at Puebla, and, in the part of the world where I grew up and where I live again, it is spent as a celebration of Mexican culture. (Admittedly, where I am used to be Mexico, but it wasn’t still Mexico at the time Puebla happened. Oh, no, there was another war going on, and this part of the world was on the wrong side of it.) Given how much of the rest of the year a lot of people here spend decrying that culture, the observance strikes me as odd to disingenuous to hypocritical to appropriative and reductionist, at least as many make the observance. But then, that’s hardly unique to this day, as I think I might’ve mentioned a few times before.

It’s admittedly not a holiday meal for me, but just a regular dinner.
Photo by Chitokan C. on Pexels.com

For me, the day is something that attracts attention; again, I live where I live, and, for better or worse, I identify as a resident of that part of the world, so the common observances are part of the identificatory markers. And I confess to some hypocrisy of my own; I do love me some tacos, and they do tend to be on special on Cinco de Mayo. It’s far removed from the origination of the observance, and it doesn’t do me any credit, thought it does contribute to my waistline being what it is.

There is this, too: My wife and child are both Hispanic, specifically of Mexican descent. My wife’s grandmother, though born in the US, grew up south of the Rio Grande; her parents hailed from there, if memory serves, or her grandparents did. So they, at least, have the more direct tie, and I am happy to celebrate their heritage with them, even if I do not share it myself. It is part of who they are, even if it is not the part they necessarily foreground; I am rather quite fond of the both of them, so why should I not laud what contributes to making them who they are, so long as it does not hurt them?

But then, given how things are in this part of the world and many others, perhaps they would come to harm from the acknowledgement of their ancestry. Enough people do so where I can see it, and I look in few places and with poor eyesight; there is surely far more of it of which I am unaware.

Funny how that kind of thing can work out.

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