It’s Cinco de Mayo – which means almost nothing here in Mexico unless you are living in the town of Puebla. May 5th marks the Battle of Puebla but it is NOT Mexican Independence Day which many Canadians and Americans mistakenly think. While you’ll be eating giant tacos and sipping giant tumblers of tequila while wearing giant sombreros – well that’s just another normal day here in my neighborhood.
We have, however, seen two other very Mexican cultural celebrations take place this week. The first was Children’s Day – Dia de Los Ninos – which always takes place on April 30th. It’s a day where families and schools celebrate and honor children with parties and pinatas and candy and everything else KID. We attended the Children’s Day Party held at Manos de Amor which was led by the students of one of the local universities. It was a blast and we walked away covered in face paint, hotdog condiments and sticky candy remnants.
Manos de Amor Fiesta!
Almost 300 children attended the party at my local church
May 3rd is known as Day of the Holy Cross and it is a tradition that was brought to Mexico by Spanish missionaries centuries ago. Mexican construction workers have taken this celebration as their own, and as we drove around our neighborhood we saw that every construction site – no matter how big or how small – had a cross erected, decorated with colorful flowers and paper streamers. At the end of the day we saw crews of workers enjoying some food and ‘adult beverages’ together on the worksite in the shadow of the cross. An expression of gratitude and a request for blessing and protection.
Mexicans love to party. They love to eat and drink and dance. Everywhere you look you see the rich symbols of Mexico’s culture displayed and celebrated. The recent movie “Coco” is a great depiction of just how deep and passionate Mexican traditions run. They love to honor one another – everyone has a day and a party and I can’t wait until it’s my turn on May 10th when we celebrate Dia de la Madre – Mother’s Day! In the meantime, enjoy your Cinco de Mayo burrito – I lift a toast to you and VIVA MEXICO!