The Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in which an 8,000-man, well-armed French army was decisively beaten by 4,000 poorly-equipped Mexican soldiers. The French had invaded Mexico in an attempt to replace the government of Benito Juarez, which had defaulted on loan payments to the French government; French emperor Napoleon III also thought that conquering Mexico would give France a base of operations from which to support the Confederacy in the American Civil War. The battle of Puebla was not a decisive encounter in the course of the Mexican war with France, but it became a symbol of Mexican pride and prevented Napoleon from aiding the Confederacy.
In Mexico today, Cinco de Mayo isn’t widely celebrated outside the state of Puebla, but it has become a holiday celebrated by many Americans regardless of their national background, putting it in the same celebratory league as St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest. You can thank savvy marketing in the 1980's by the brewers of Corona beer (or cerveza, whatever) for helping to make Cinco de Mayo the event it has become today.
On other fronts, I missed yesterday's celebration of May 4th as Star Wars Day, commemorating the release of the original film Star Wars and its sequels. "May the fourth be with you," as true Star Wars geeks say. Here are my grandchildren Noah, Marcy, and Joe celebrating the day at a Star Wars Day event at their local library...
And, speaking of science fiction, it's a short leap from Star Wars to Star Trek and to this interesting (well, to a linguist, anyway) web article: The Top 10 Star Trek Languages. If you are one of those folks who wear rubber Klingon heads to geek conventions and shout insults like Hab SoSli' Quch! ("your mother has a smooth forehead!"), enjoy.
And that's all for today.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.