Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo! (And just as everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, everyone is Mexican on Cinco de Mayo.) This year marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Mexican forces’ victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862. (If you’re interested in reading more, see last year’s post, “Cinco de Mayo is Not Mexican Independence Day?“.) Irrespective of the French defeat, the Gazette Officielle de l’Empire Mexicain pictured above is proof positive of a French presence in Mexico. This is a digitized image taken from one of three volumes of the official gazette of Mexico during the Second French Intervention under the reign of Maximilian I. These documents and many more are available here, at the Law Library of Congress. If you are interested in expanding your research resources on Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula, and Lusophone/Hispanophone Africa, another great stop is at the Hispanic Reading Room of the Library of Congress. For those of you who do not have physical access to the Library of Congress’s collections, please see your local library for information concerning its participation in interlibrary loan or use the “Ask a Librarian” interface to explore other options.
If you are looking for a venue to celebrate in the daytime, the Mexican Embassy will be hosting a commemoration and celebration at its Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. and invites “visitors to experience the art, culture, cuisine and much more” of the Mexican state of Puebla–best known for its mole poblano. Another day-time venue for celebration with the family is at the 20th Annual National Cinco de Mayo Festival at the National Sylvan Theater near the Washington Monument.
If the French were to have succeeded in perpetuating their rule over Mexico, perhaps you would be asking for une bière française or une bière mexicaine instead of your cerveza of choice this weekend. Would a beer by any other name taste just as sweet?
Wherever you choose to celebrate, have a fun and safe Cinco de Mayo. ¡Salud! or Santé!