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? What if we vowed to be creative today?
Here are some ideas:
--Make Mexican Wedding Cookies. You can find a recipe here, although I would use pecans instead of almonds. I realize that these cookies are not traditional Cinco de Mayo fare, but I had them at a Cinco de Mayo wedding, so the two are linked for me (for more on the wedding, see this blog post on my theology blog).
--Create a sketch or painting that has the number 5 at the center of the page/canvas. Or hide the number 5. Or use only 5 colors or 5 shades of the same color.
--Write a story in which the character wins a prize against incredible odds.
--Choose five fabrics and create a scarf or other adornment.
--Make wind chimes with 5 strings hung on a stick. As you make the wind chime from items strung on yarn or string, just remember that they need to hit each other to make sound. The first time I made a wind chime, I forgot, so mine isn't as melodious. Wind chimes are a great way to get rid of old hardware and keys that no longer open locks that you own.
--Think about the ways that Mexican heritage has impacted you. Create a meal to celebrate.
--Send money to support migrant workers, many of whom come from Mexico to pick our fruits and vegetables. I'm impressed with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which works to protect the migrant workers in the fields of Florida, but you certainly have plenty to choose from.
Of course, I realize that most of us will celebrate Cinco de Mayo by going to work. I understand the appeal of Cinco de Mayo happy hour. But even our more mundane activities can become meaningful, if we think about the ways that determined bands of like-minded individuals can change the world.