Peaches Prattlings

{May 5, 2021}   Feliz Cinco de mayo

It’s Cinco de mayo. It’s the 5th of May. It’s a celebration, but do we really know why it’s celebrated?

Cinco de mayo is an annual celebration commemorating Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. I’m going to let you guess the date! This is not to be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, which does happen, and is celebrated September 16th.

The nice thing about the holiday is it celebrates Mexican-American culture, gives a glimpse into something people may not have exposure to. Granted, in the US, it seems to look like a giant party, with people going to their local, maybe favorite Mexican restaurant, sometimes feeling like an excuse to drink, but when celebrated it lets people see some wonderful and beautiful expressions of love, artistry, and pride, and for those things, how can it be bad.

When my grandfather and his brother left Poland, my grandfather came to the United States through Ellis Island, like so many families, and my great-uncle went to Mexico and started his family there. The family grew and grew and grew and each time we would visit we would get an insiders view of the country and her people. I have so many fond memories of my family, being there for family events, traveling through the country and going places not everyone gets to see. I think of those times and smile.

I learned to speak Spanish a little as a kid, I took French classes all through school, but most of it has been as an adult through travel, and believe it or not, going to Mexican restaurants. One of the things we’ve talked about before is how I try to learn a language before we go to the country and practice as much as possible while we’re there. There are times I start to speak and whoever I’m speaking with repeats it back in English to make sure I knew what I was saying, but I love the times when I speak in Spanish and the conversation just flows, it’s great practice for me and I truly appreciate it.

Spanish is such a beautiful language, how could you not love it. And Mexican culture, so rich and colorful, influenced by a combination of Aztec, Mayan, and European influences. Some of my greatest memories are of the culture, Ballet Folklórico México Danza, Cliff divers in Acapulco, one of the scariest and most awesome sites! Mariachi Bands, Chichen Itza celebrating the Mayan people and culture. One of my favorite places in Mexico is Xochimilco, being on the water in colorful gondola-like boats, eating and seeing the flowers, oh my the flowers, the colors, known as the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, celebrating the idea that we can reunite with our deceased loved ones, I loved how Coco portrayed and honored this tradition. One of my most vivid memories is visiting the house shared by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, it’s now the Museo Frida Kahlo, the Blue House. I was nine and saw a painting of hers that honestly gives me nightmares to this day! The Mexican Hat Dance, considered Mexico’s national dance and Jarabe Tapatío, which originated as a courtship dance, is taught in nearly every grade school in Mexico! The colors, the costumes, the traditions! And the food, oh the food, vibrant, sweet, tangy, succulent, fresh, flavorful! I loved the food in Mexico, a fireworks display in my mouth! In a good way.

I hope you were able to get out and celebrate tonight, if it was attending an event, watching a traditional show, enjoying food at your favorite Mexican restaurant, I hope you enjoyed yourself!

I leave you with this Cinco de mayo greeting “¿Dónde estaríamos hoy si no hubiera sido por el Cinco de mayo? Festejemos este día tan especial con el corazón lleno de felicidad y gran orgullo.”


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