A Celebration in the Family

Of all the holidays, Cinco de Mayo is one of the strangest. As a holiday for people of Mexican ancestry, it is hardly even known in its home nation. It is a commemoration of a battle which ended an occupation absolutely everyone would otherwise rather forget. Its celebration is more commercial than cultural, coming off as something like St Patrick’s Day with better weather and better food.

But this is as good of a day as any to study the strange relationship between Mexico and the United States. With all of the twists and turns of a telenovela, this story is also one of an extended family with far too much effort wasted fighting.

Continue reading

Advertisements

A North American Story

In just a few days we celebrate a holiday somewhat more popular in the US than in Mexico. That’s just as well because it’s a classic North American kind of holiday in many ways.  We are a family, which is why our relationship is so intense and personal at times.

It started as invasion by France to collect a debt, but the larger and better equipped French invasion force was defeated by a ragged group of Mexicans, some armed with little more than machetes and pitchforks.  The Battle of Puebla on 5 May 1862 was 150 years ago this Saturday.  It was not decisive, needing a few years before the colorful armies and politicians could sort it all out.  But the victory at Puebla is a story deep at the heart of Mexican character – a determination and toughness that the great continent of North America shares as a very odd, sometimes dysfunctional family.

Continue reading

Cinco de Mayo

In just two weeks, we celebrate a holiday somewhat more popular in the US than in Mexico. That’s just as well because it’s a classic North American kind of holiday in many ways.

It started as invasion by France to collect a debt, but the larger and better equipped French invasion force was defeated by a ragged group of Mexicans, some armed with little more than machetes and pitchforks.  The Battle of Puebla on 5 May 1862 was 150 years ago this Saturday.  It was not decisive, needing a few years before the colorful armies and politicians could sort it all out.  But the victory at Puebla is a story deep at the heart of Mexican character – a determination and toughness that the great continent of North America shares as a very odd, sometimes dysfunctional family.

Continue reading