A sure sign of spring are two celebrations that are both in the month of May. Amid the beautiful spring flowers we have Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day. I often forget what they are truly about, so here is a brief history lesson that my dear friend, Ruth, gave me just the other day.
Cinco de Mayo
Somewhere along the line, Americans decided that one of Mexico’s important dates in history should parallel our own Independence Day. Maybe it was the way Cinco de Mayo rolls off the tongue, or the May 5/July 4 similarities for marketing purposes. Never mind that Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the historic Puebla battle of 1862 in which the Mexican Army tromped the heck out of Napoleon III’s occupying French Army (which, by the way, was supplying our U.S. Confederate soldiers, so the outcome of this battle also helped end the U.S. Civil War).
Well, anyway, Ruth says the holiday today celebrates Mexican pride and culture, and has a great food and drink tradition enjoyed all over the world. As for me, I see Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to chomp chips and salsa, and to (symbolically) devour French pastries.
Although some may think Mother’s Day was created by greeting card companies to boost sales, the annual holiday was championed by Victorian Era peace activist Ann Jarvis, and later her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis. In 1868, Mama Ann wanted to reunite families divided by the Civil War. Daughter Anna Marie just wanted to pay tribute to her late Mom, and to recognize all mothers for their special contributions to society. By and by, and after much to-do, the tribute day became a national holiday on May 8, 1914. It has subsequently gone internationally viral. By the way, carnations are the traditional flower for Mother’s Day, and the traditional meal is a lovely Sunday brunch (or breakfast in bed with the kids making pancakes). Gee, how about brunch at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate both holidays at once!
Come to think of it, these two holidays would be nice to include in a holiday section in your family cookbook, or if you prefer, in your recipe box with recipe cards easily made by Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software.
Now for my annual tequila shot and salt (with lime, please).