Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo. It's a little like St. Patrick's Day in that a lot of people it doesn't apply to celebrate it, and a lot of the people who celebrate it have no idea what they are celebrating. They just enjoy the festivities (and the discounted drinks...).
Being a person who does actually happen to know the history of the day and happen to thoroughly enjoy holiday celebrations of most kinds, I decided that I was going to do something festive.
Given that I am a big fan of latin music and dance floors, I ended up at a Mexican restaurant where a live band was playing! (Pa' que lo bailen bien...) As I was taking a short break from twirling around the floor, a random guy asked me to tell him what Cinco de Mayo was about. I started to tell him when I realized that the guy on the other side of me was both Mexican and a friend of mine, so I figured he'd probably tell it better than I would and asked him to explain instead.
Good thing, too.
My explanation would have involved all this background information about the wars and the debts and France wanting their money and Benito Juarez as well as what happened at the Batalla de Puebla. Very teacher-esque, I imagine. My friend, on the other hand? Much more simple. All he said was, "Cinco de Mayo is about the day when we fought France and kicked their a**."
He's absolutely right. Even though Mexico was in debt and struggling and France came to demand money the Mexicans didn't have (and they lost to them later), la Batalla de Puebla and the subsequent annual celebration really aren't about all of that. They are about the underdogs winning and kicking France's...well, you know. Derriere.
A veces, la importancia de un suceso viene de como te hace sentir.
(Sometimes, the importance of an event comes from how it makes you feel.)