The Lady Speaks

¡Cinco de Mayo!


It's Cinco de Mayo – the 5th of May – and once again, I'm trapped in whitebread world where everyone thinks Ortega makes real tacos and tortillas. *blech*

This is one of the few days of the year when I absolutely yearn to be living in Phoenix again. The sights, the smells, the music…*sigh*

A lot of people think Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican Independence Day, which is actually September 16th. Here's a little history

The 5th of May is celebrated in the United States among the Mexican-American population, especially in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Various Mexican-American societies use the celebrations to commemorate the overthrow of the Mexican Imperial Monarchy headed by Maximilian of Austria. The Imperial Monarchy was imposed from 1864 to 1867 on Mexico by Napoleon III, Emperor of France (nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte) and the Mexican conservatives "Club de Notables".


France's designs were formented and abetted by the plutocratic and conservative land owners of Mexico who feared loss of land and political power to the newly elected constitutional government of Benito Juárez. On December 8th, 1861 the European powers landed and occupied Veracruz, Spain arrived first. By April 11, 1862 after realizing France's intent, England and Spain withdrew their support.

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, President Juárez (a full blooded Zapotec Indian, and a lawyer who had studied to become a priest), was taking countermeasures: "There is no help but in defense but I can assure you… the Imperial Government will not succeed in subduing the Mexicans, and its armies will not have a single day of peace… we must stop them, not only for our country but for the respect of the sovereignty of the nations"(1). Juarez declared martial law and declared all areas occupied by the French in a state of siege.

After reinforcements arrived, a French force of (7,000) seven thousand set out on the (225) two hundred twenty five mile route to Mexico City in early April under the illusion that the Mexican people would welcome them. This illusion was fostered by Juan N. Almonte, a Mexican reactionary, and by Count Dubois du Saligny appointed French Ambassador to Mexico by Napoleon. Presidente Juárez commanded General Ignacio Zaragoza to block the advance of the French Army with 2,000 soldiers at the fortified hills of Loreto and Guadalupe by the city of Puebla.

On May 5th, 1862, cannons boomed and rifle shots rang out as the French soldiers attacked the two forts. Before the day was over, one fort was in ruins and more than a thousand French soldiers were dead. The Mexicans had won the battle, but not the war. Yet, this date was established as symbolic of the Mexicans' courage against a formidable army.

May 5, 2006 - Posted by | Cinco de Mayo, Mexico, Uncategorized


  1. Every year around this time, millions of people around the world prepare to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, leaving mustard lovers out in the cold. Through grassroots publicity efforts, including this blog, I want to do something to change this little-publicized form of discrimination. It’s time for CINCO DE MUSTARD™!

    Why? Because, frankly, I’m tired of all the festive talk about Cinco de Mayo. Aside from the occasional BLT (that’s Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwich for those of you from Mars), nobody I know even uses mayonnaise anymore. Moreover, I’m willing to bet most people among that minority known as “mayo users” have opted for the low-fat or “light” mayonnaise by now and, in the process, have sacrificed flavor at the altar of health.

    And then there’s MUSTARD, the condiment I have yet to hear someone belittle in public!

    During the summer months, mustard is the condiment of choice on hot dogs at the ballpark and on hamburgers fresh off the backyard grill. Heck, you can leave a squeeze bottle of mustard outside in the sun for hours without worry of it “going bad” and poisoning all who consume it after arriving late for the company picnic or family reunion. No, mustard is safe!

    That in mind, don’t you agree it’s time for mustard lovers — that’s you and me – to unite and show our support for this taken-for-granted condiment? Don’t you think it’s time we sponsor and participate in CINCO DE MUSTARD™ events at locations nationwide during the first week of May? That’s what I thought!

    So I contacted the folks at the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum and Mustard Store in Mount Horeb, Wisc., several months ago about staging counter-mayo events around the country. But they weren’t interested. Apparently, they’re more interested in making mustard a part of history than in making history with mustard.

    I also tried, unsuccessfully I might add, to sell the idea to the folks behind the Napa Valley Mustard Festival, one of the world’s largest such events. The fact that their festival takes place during February and March should have given me a clue. So scared of the Mayo Lobby, those folks wouldn’t even schedule their festival during the Cinco De Mayo time frame. I can already hear them “wining” about this post.

    If mustard lovers stand firm in our resolve, we can turn this thing around and make the first week of May a celebration of everything mustard. All it takes is faith the size of a mustard seed for people like us to realize the dream: MUSTARD WILL RULE!

    If you share the faith, make a public demonstration of it by purchasing one of the fine CINCO DE MUSTARD™ items available in the The CINCO DE MUSTARD™ Shop.

    One last thing: Make sure you tell your mustard-loving friends about The CINCO DE MUSTARD™ Shop and make sure you tell Bob McCarty Writes™ [] about any CINCO DE MUSTARD™ events in your area. Thanks in advance!

    Comment by Bob McCarty | April 16, 2007 | Reply

  2. Bob: Thanks for the laugh! I definitely needed one this morning.

    You can count on me to help with CINCO DE MUSTARD™!

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 16, 2007 | Reply

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