Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, yay, I guess. Do you really know anything about Cinco de Mayo other than the fact that it means the fifth of May? Do we even care or are we now as a country using any excuse to get drunk and stupid. I mean after all ‘Merica! and all that for the win. Exactly. But there it is, a major Mexican drinking holiday and you know nothing about it.
Let’s see, when I ask people what the significance of the holiday is they usually tell me it is the equivalent of the fourth of July, Independence day for Mexico and all that. Wrong. Mexico’s Independence day is September 16th, Diez y Seis de Septiembre. Not a really catchy name for a holiday is it. No really Cinco de Mayo is a celebration, primarily in Puebla, Mexico because of their victory over French forces in 1862.
Wait, let’s get this straight, we’re celebrating the defeat of France? Umm, really. Who hasn’t beaten France, it’s France. They didn’t even have a word for victory until the borrowed it from Napoleon. Hell, take this list of French wars:
– Gallic Wars
– Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.
– Hundred Years War
– Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; “France’s armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman.” Sainted. (Joan of Arc)
– Italian Wars
– Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians. (yup, that is real. Remember Italy had a hurting put on it by Greece in WWII, Greece people!)
– Wars of Religion
– France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots (and they still left France, mostly)
– Thirty Years War
– France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.
– War of Revolution
– Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.
– The Dutch War
– War of the Augsburg League/King William’s War/French and Indian War
– Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles (i.e your average liberal college history Prof) the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.
– War of the Spanish Succession
– Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved ever since.
– American Revolution
– In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as “de Gaulle Syndrome”, and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; “France only wins when America does most of the fighting.”
– French Revolution
– Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.
– The Napoleonic Wars
– Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.
– The Franco-Prussian War
– Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France’s ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.
– World War I
– Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States [Entering the war late -ed.]. Thousands of French women find out what it’s like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn’t call her “Fraulein.” Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.
– World War II
– Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.
– War in Indochina
– Lost. French forces plead sickness; take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu (of course they teach effective methods of torture to the Indochinese, which will be used to great effect on Americans)
– Algerian Rebellion
– Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; “We can always beat the French.” This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux. (but not Mexicans!)
So, drinking because you beat the French. The world would be soused most of the time and here is the kicker. Mexico didn’t even win the war, only that battle in Puebla. Instead they lost the war, which was over debt payments talk about your crabby creditors, and France installed a French Empire with Maximillian I who lasted from 1864-1867, until the U.S. finished our own Civil War and noticed France mucking about in our backyard.
France was quickly defeated and sent packing. So really Mexico is pretty much celebrating their lone military victory which I guess would want to make me drink too. Really when your greatest achievement is beating France in one battle you’re worse than the Italians when it comes to warfare. So this isn’t victory drinking, its drinking to forget Mexican military ineptitude.
I guess we participate because Mexico is like our trailer park neighbor hosting a kegger. Yeah, it is a trailer park, but no one is going to turn down a free party even if is for something everyone has done multiple times.