Today is Cinco de Mayo. How many of us know how this holiday came to be? The Writer's Almanac web site tells us, "It commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In a David-and-Goliath confrontation, the 8,000-strong, well-armed French army was routed by 4,000 ill-equipped Mexican soldiers, and though it wasn’t a decisive battle in the course of the war, it became a symbol of Mexican pride. It’s also become a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture in the United States."
For many of us, it's just another excuse to drink, like Saint Patrick's Day. But what if we looked at this holiday with new eyes? Today, I'll be thinking about how great odds can be overcome.
I won't think as much about the actual battle that gave us this holiday. My school will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a festival. The International Club will be doing something Mexican themed, as will the Culinary Club.
The rest of us will be celebrating Frida Kahlo. Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale has a display of her work through the end of May, and we decided that we wanted to do something in conjunction with that. So we'll be having a Festival of Frida.
The high point will likely be the fashion show, with garments, jewelry, and head ornaments that are inspired by Frida Kahlo. Before the fashion show, I'll be meeting with a poetry class in the library, which is decorated with Frida inspired art. We will have a scavenger hunt of sorts, with some of her lesser known art reproduced on boards, and students challenged to find the names of the art.
Our Festival of Frida will end tomorrow with a talk given by one of our art historians. I hope she'll talk about the obstacles that Frida Kahlo overcame.
I think of Frida Kahlo and her miscarriages. I think of her excruciating pain of all sorts, and her 35 operations to try to rid her of the pain. I think of her troubled marriage. Through it all, she painted with fierce determination.
So, this Cinco de Mayo, I will be celebrating Frida Kahlo and her ability to carry on, even as her life gave her one obstacle after another. I will be hoping that we can all do the same.
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