Cinco de Mayo! ¡Viva la Revolución!


Of course, Cinco de Mayo doesn't actually celebrate the start of the Mexican Revolution (that's September 16). Instead, it commemorates the decisive victory of the Mexican army over the French, who had tried to invade. (Who needs a UN when you can just saunter in and take over weak countries. Oh, wait.)

And let's be blunt: for most Americans, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican flavored version of St Patrick's Day. A way to "celebrate" diversity with food and drink, preferably in copious amounts.

But while I love a great margarita as much as the next drunken White girl, I don't think that's the point of the day. Not really. (Any more than wearing green and drinking Guinness is the point of St Patrick's Day). 

Yes, maybe that's the only point our consumer culture needs us to get from these days, but I'd rather go deeper. 

Cinco de Mayo has a lot in common with Hanukkah. Jews and Mexicans, we're people who are seen as weak, as other, as less than. 

Coincidental historical fact: Frida Kahlo maintained the falsehood that her father was Hungarian-Jewish, in order to further identify herself with oppressed people. He was actually a German-Protestant. Can you blame her for not wanting German ancestry during the Nazi era? She also famously lied about her birthday, claiming to have been born with the Revolution, when she was already three at the time. She was a woman who loved myth and knew that deeper poetic truths were more important than actual facts.


So, let's celebrate Cinco de Mayo as a day a country refused to let themselves get overrun and stood up to those who would invade. Let's celebrate Cinco de Mayo by seeing the places where we have to stand up for ourselves and for those who are weaker than us. 


Let's go with the less commercial version of the day. The more philosophical. The more poetic version. The deeper truth, which is what Frida knew was most important. 


And let's start our own revolutions.