Yesterday was May 5, pronounced "cinco de Mayo" en Espanol. Cinco de Mayo is a holiday commemorated by Mexicans and Americans (particularly in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas), and a day the French (and perhaps the British) would like to forget. May 5 is also a Super Bonza Bottler Day.
"Cinco History," at the Website Viva Cinco de Mayo, explains today's historical significance:
The 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day, but it should be! And Cinco de Mayo is not an American holiday, but it should be.
So, why Cinco de Mayo? And why should Americans savor this day as well? Because 4,000 Mexican soldiers smashed the French and traitor Mexican army of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico, 100 miles east of Mexico City on the morning of May 5, 1862.
As Cinco History further explains, American forces supported the Mexican military to win the:
great victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying the confederate rebels for another year, allowing the United States to build the greatest army the world had ever seen. This grand army smashed the Confederates at Gettysburg just 14 months after the battle of Puebla, essentially ending the Civil War.
Ongoing collaboration between Mexicans and Americans was evidenced when:
In gratitude, thousands of Mexicans crossed the border after Pearl Harbor to join the U.S. Armed Forces. [And] As recently as the Persian Gulf War, Mexicans flooded American consulates with phone calls, trying to join up and fight another war for America.
Another valuable resource is the DVD, Celebrating Cinco De Mayo, which describes how the occasion is celebrated and the principles it represents:
Parades, traditional foods, colorful crafts, and happy people are the trademarks of celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo presents a wonderful opportunity each year for two neighboring countries — the United States and Mexico — to acknowledge and re-affirm their friendship. The holiday glorifies freedom and liberty, ideas that are cherished by citizens of both North American democracies.
Cinco de Mayo, like other holidays, is subject to crass commercialization. Googling "Cinco de Mayo” gives you the chance to find historical background, recipes, events, and ways to celebrate. It also reveals as many advertisements and infomercials from purveyors of goods and services as it does cultural and historic resources. For an example, visit Viva Cinco de Mayo. I was once a major culprit of that sort of enterprise. In the early 1990s, I worked with the team that introduced Taco Bell products to grocery stores. Taco Bell Corporation (now a division of Yum! Brands, Inc. but then a PepsiCo division) collaborated with its corporate partners to roll out the grocery product line coincidentally with Cinco de Mayo. That timing strategically leveraged the larger buzz surrounding Cinco de Mayo and the appreciation it fostered in the United States for many things Mexican. (Incidentally, Americans view Taco Bell food as Mexican or Tex-Mex; Mexicans view it as American.)