May the Fourth be with You and Cinco De Mayo are two drastically different yearly celebrations, however, they land within the same time period so I am going to dedicate this blog to the both of them.
May the Fourth be with You & Revenge of the Fifth
Let’s start with May the Fourth be With You. I’ve got, to be honest, this was a difficult one for me not to celebrate. I am a huge Star Wars Fan and really wanted to bring out my lightsaber. Therefore, I decided to take the time to research the holiday instead. I did always wonder, why exactly the fourth of May was a yearly day to celebrate Star Wars.
May the Fourth be with You, actually started off as an internet pun. But the earliest known record of this holiday was actually used in 1979 pop-culture. As described here by author Alan Arnold while he was chronicling the making of The Empire Strikes Back for Lucasfilm:
“Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain’s first woman prime minister. To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory, was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.”
The pun didn’t necessarily start with Lucasfilm, but with Star Wars fans. As most internet puns progress, it started with one person and skyrocketed from then on. Even though Lucasfilm didn’t create it, they happily embraced it. Along with May the Fourth be with You, we now also have the Revenge of the Fifth. These are now two days when Star Wars fans alike can celebrate the Star Wars franchise and simply have a good time.
(Information Gathered From: http://www.starwars.com/may-the-4th)
From all this research and seeing how difficult it was to actually not celebrate this holiday, I think this holiday is worth celebrating for myself in the future. May the fourth be with you, and also with you.
Cinco De Mayo
To be honest, I actually forgot Cinco De Mayo was happening this year. I remember celebrating it a couple times in the past but I didn’t even know what the holiday was for. Once again, I decided to look this up.
A lot of people say that Cinco De Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, but their Independence Day is actually celebrated every year on Septemeber 16th. Cinco De Mayo is the celebration of the Battle of Puebla which took place decades later.
“In 1861, Benito Juárez—a lawyer and member of the indigenous Zapotec tribe—was elected president of Mexico. At the time, the country was in financial ruin after years of internal strife, and the new president was forced to default on debt payments to European governments. In response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz, Mexico, demanding repayment. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew their forces. France, however, ruled by Napoleon III, decided to use the opportunity to carve an empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large force of troops and driving President Juárez and his government into retreat.” (history.com)
“6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a ragtag force of 2,000 loyal men—many of them either indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry—and sent them to Puebla. The vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans, led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza, fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez gathered his army—supported by heavy artillery—before the city of Puebla and led an assault. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash.” (history.com)
So, how is this victory celebrated today? Well, in Mexico, only Puebla civilians actually celebrate Cinco De Mayo. The reason the holiday has progressed in America is because at the time of the Battle of Puebla the Civil War was going on in the states. Mexicans in the US generally sided with the Union and so the Battle of Puebla as encouragement that the Union could actually win. Cinco De Mayo began to take on its new meaning in the states. Chicano activists in the 1960’s brought more awareness to the holiday as a way to resemble overcoming European oppression. Today the holiday is still recognized to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage… however, for some non-Mexican citizens, the holiday has become just another excuse to get drunk and wear sombreros.
For me, this holiday doesn’t have much significance to my life. I support American-Mexicans, but who am I to celebrate a heritage that isn’t mine or one that I know little about? I may consider celebrating if my Mexican friend wanted to grab a drink on that day because the holiday is important to them. However, for my own personal celebrations, I think I can cross this one off my list.
Want to know why I’m not celebrating holidays for a year? Read my first blog on this subject here: A Year Abstaining from Holidays