May 5, 2014
Literally "the Fifth of May," Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. In 1861, France sent a massive army to invade Mexico, as they wanted to collect on some war debts. The French army was much larger, better trained and equipped than the Mexicans struggling to defend the road to Mexico City. It rolled through Mexico until it reached Puebla, where the Mexicans made a valiant stand, and, against all logic, won a huge victory. It was short-lived, as the French army regrouped and continued; eventually taking Mexico City, but the euphoria of an unlikely victory against overwhelming odds is remembered every May fifth.
Here in New Mexico it is a day recognized with parades, parties and food...LOTS of wonderful happy food! To the sounds of festive live Mariachi music coming from several establishments on the Mother Road (Route 66) just a half block from our home, the WDA and Steve prepared a feast of South of the Border favorites...pork that that slow roasted all day with garlic and chilies shredded and tucked into freshily griddled corn tortillas and kissed with chopped cilantro and queso fresco...calabacitas made of yellow squash, zucchini, corn kernals, garlic, and queso...pinto beans mashed and refried in lard (the traditional way)...and homemade salsa fresca with crunchy tortilla chips made at the wonderful Mexican bakery down the road from us.
Pineapple empanadas and flan ended the celebration and took the edge off of the loud fireworks that filled our neighborhood. Viva the memory of Cinco de Mayo and the power of the valiant common man no matter what the odds! It is a wonderful moment in history...and a lesson to us all.