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A Brief Guide to Cinco De Mayo and How Not to Celebrate like an Insensitive Gringo

It's Cinco de Mayo --- or Drinko de Mayo as some say. No one wants to be a jerk - or an insensitive gringo - so before diving head first into the pool of guac, let's go over a few things.

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo, which isn’t widely celebrated in Mexico, commemorates an underdog victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory was galvanizing for the Mexican forces — and for those supporting them from afar — but it was short-lived, as France later occupied Mexico for a few years. Still, Cinco de Mayo continued to be celebrated in Puebla and, perhaps more significantly, by Mexican-Americans north of the border.

Wait. Are you sure it isn't Mexico's Independence Day?

Yup, positive. Mexico's Independence Day is Sept. 16, which is now a national holiday. On that day in 1810, a priest named Miguel Hidalgo implored Mexico to revolt against Spain, leading to the War for Independence, which ended in 1821.

I'm not Mexican. Can I still celebrate?

I'm always in favor of any reason to celebrate. But it's important to appreciate, not appropriate. Respect, not ridicule. Here are some easy ways to tell the difference.

Appreciate vs. Appropriate

Appreciate: learn origins of Cinco de Mayo (which you just did, so well done!)

Appropriate: wearing a giant sombrero. Don't do this. Same goes for the giant mustaches, etc.

Appreciate: supporting authentic Mexican run restaurants and businesses.

Appropriate: Serving guac out of a giant sombrero at your casa.

Appreciate: donating to and supporting organizations that help immigrants.

Appropriate: making a joke about or marginalizing certain jobs frequently done by immigrants.

So to answer the question posed in the title of this article "does celebrating cinco de mayo make you an insensitive gringo?" -- No. But if you're a jackass about it, then yes.

Get it? Okay, cool! Have fun, be safe, and make sure there's enough guac for everyone.

JK - eat it all yourself.


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