Friends hanging out & celebrating `Cinco de Mayo`

Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5 throughout Latin America. This date observes the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza.

Mistakenly, Cinco de Mayo is sometimes believed to be commemorating Mexican Independence Day—Mexico`s most important national holiday. That is celebrated on September 16, in honour of the war of Mexican independence from Spain.

This Celebration might have been `Le 5 Mai.`

Wars in the 1860`s nearly brought the Mexican Treasury to bankruptcy. Mexican President, Benito Juárez announced a suspension of all foreign debt payments for two years. Britain, France and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement.

Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew. France ruled by Napolean III decided to try to establish an empire in Mexico. The empire was part of an envisioned Latin America.  Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet attacked Veracruz.  A large French force landed and driving President Juárez and his government into retreat. 

Moving from Veracruz towards Mexico City, the French army encountered heavy resistance from the Mexicans close to Puebla. The French army of 8,000 attacked the poorly equipped Mexican army of 4,000.  The Mexicans decisively defeated the French army. The victory represented a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and the Mexican people at large.  It helped establish a strong sense of national unity and patriotism.    (The former Forts of Guadalupe and Loreto now house a museum) 

A Volley of Victories

The Mexican victory, however, was short-lived. A year later, with 30,000 troops, the French were able to defeat the Mexican army, capture Mexico City, and install Emperor Maximilian I as ruler of Mexico.

The French victory was itself short-lived, lasting only three years, from 1864 to 1867. By 1865, “with the American Civil War now over, the U.S. began to provide more political and military assistance to Mexico to expel the French.”

Napolean III, facing a persistent Mexican guerilla resistance, the threat of war with Prussia, and “the prospect of a serious scrap with the United States”, retreated from Mexico starting in 1866. The Mexicans recaptured Mexico City, and Maximilian I was apprehended and executed. On June 5, 1867, Benito Juárez finally entered Mexico City where he installed a new government and reorganized his administration.

Cinco de Mayo`s Popularity across the Globe

In Mexico, the commemoration continues to be mostly ceremonial, through military parades or battle reenactments. Federal, State and local municipalities put their own touches to this popular social day. Colima does it `tastefully,` and it`s a real treat for locals and visitors alike. Get to the beach, join with friends and enjoy the cultural aspects of this wonderful country.

Canada and the United States celebrate the day in a different fashion. We`ve learned from visitors to Colima that Cinco de Mayo has importance to them back at home. Folks from Germany, England, Ireland, Finland, South Africa and Japan have shared Cinco de Mayo stories with us. They are as well, readers of this weekly blog, so Cheers to you all!

The focus of Cinco de Mayo away from Mexico

In conversations with these people, food and alcohol both play a prime focus on Cinco de Mayo. We can pack away Mexican food and drink tequila any other day of the year and do, so why May 5.

The agreement is that while the food and drinks are great, it`s our shared love of Mexico that`s the binding force. The biggest surprise is that many of these global folks go through some of the craziness we do when celebrating away from Mexico.

Connect with friends,  make reservations weeks ahead at one of few Mexican restaurants, dig deep into the closet for the appropriate clothes and arrange a DD are all typical in Canada and US. But Japan! Really!!

 Well let`s talk Food and Drinks

Let`s be honest, as soon as Mexico fans are back home dreaming about climate, waves, people, food and drinks begin! Regardless of the amount of time since your feet were in the sand, the memories remain clear. So many conversations start with, `I remember a night….` And whether it was 2018 or 1972 it`s told with the clarity and passion that fills fans of Mexico. Food and drinks are very often a part of the stories. 

Many folks don`t bother with the crowded restaurant scene on Cinco de Mayo. Instead of that, they choose to recreate the smells and tastes at home. Waking up this morning, or any morning at this age is pretty exciting! But we`re in full Cinco 1st gear today. The cupboard is crowded with ingredients and pots & pans are ready. As is the blender! The best Sea Salt Mexico has to offer and BFFs, limes, are on standby. Soon my friends, soon!

          

A brief history about Colima Tequila, a Cinco de Mayo staple

Apparently “vino de cocos” or palm wine was produced in Mexico in the late 1500s until 1612 when the Spaniards—to protect their own imported brandy—declared this coconut alcohol illegal and cut down all the coconut palms.

At this moment, in Colima and South Jalisco, the mezcal industry was born. Researchers, citing several historic records and point to some 26 ovens found at eleven sites on the slopes of El Volcán de Fuego. From Colima, they say, the technology made its way northward, to Amatitán and Tequila. Only when demand grew from thirsty (and rich) miners, did the Spaniards upgrade the mezcal-tequila-making process. With the passage of time, everyone forgot about where it had originally come from.

Agave heads were originally cooked in pits, rather than in ovens as seen here. Engineer Jorge Padilla at the headquarters of Tequila San Matias.

Wherever You`re Celebrating  

We extend warm greetings to everyone enjoying Cinco de Mayo today! But we extend our warmest regards to our Mexican friends!!   `Feliz Cinco de Mayo! ¡Te enviamos cálidos abrazos!`

Have great fun, be safe and enjoy this wonderful celebration Mexico has shared with us! Cheers!

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