Sadly, Cinco de Mayo is a largely misunderstood holiday. This is due to much misinformation being passed along in articles, blogs, and so forth. For instance, many people think the real Mexican celebration has nothing to do with getting drunk on margaritas. These people have evidently never been to Rosa Mexicano, Señor Frog's, or Hooters.
Anyway, here is a quick true/false test. Answer these ten questions to see how much you really know about the day:
1. Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican Independence Day.
False. The holiday is in honor of the Battle of Puebla, in which Mexico whipped France's butt.
2. Mexican soldiers at the Battle of Puebla drank margaritas out of goldfish bowls, thus starting a long-standing tradition.
False. Drinking enormous margaritas is an American invention. The Mexican
soldiers drank their margaritas from salt-rimmed canteens.
3. "Festival de Fiesta Broadway" is the name of the world's largest Cinco de Mayo celebration. The huge party takes place in Los Angeles each year, and more than 600,000 people attend.
True. Who else but Southern Californians would come up with such a dumb name for a Cinco de Mayo party?
4. The American celebration of the Mexican holiday first occurred during
the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, when a group of Mexicans and
Americans found themselves trapped for 36 hours in a partially collapsed
bar with an extensive tequila collection.
False. American recognition of the day purportedly first took place in 1967, when a group of students at California State University decided it was time for a "Chicano holiday."
5. In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo observances usually include a parade with townsfolk dressed as Mexican and French generals and soldiers. Those dressed as French soldiers have wine bottles protruding from their knapsacks, while the knapsacks on those dressed as Mexican soldiers contain giant burritos.
True, except for the part about the burritos.
6. After the parade, a re-created battle takes place between the two military groups, followed by a sword fight between the French and Mexican generals. This portion of the event ends only when the French general yells, "Tío!" and agrees that snails are a stupid thing to eat.
False. The French general does not have to say that snails are a stupid thing to eat, only that nachos are more practical.
7. Cinco de Mayo has significance for the whole continent because it marks the last time a foreign army had boots on North American soil.
8. General Chimichanga led the Mexicans to victory in the Battle of Puebla, and henceforth deep-fried burritos were named after him and became part of the celebratory festivities.
False. General Ignacio Zaragosa was the hero of the day, and there is no food named after him.
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9. Cinco de Mayo takes its name from a guacamole recipe used during the initial festivities that called for "five parts of mayonnaise" -- shortened to "five of mayo."
True. I mean my neighbor from Guatemala insists it is true, and he is a very large man. If you don't agree that this is the case, you tell him.
10. Cinco de Mayo is a minor Mexican holiday that was blown into a full-fledged American celebration by corporations that profit from filling seats in chain restaurants and selling lots of drinks in those restaurant bars, and by corporations that profit from the increase in sales of beer, tequila, corn chips, salsa, and so forth. The Taco Bell chihuahua is also somehow involved in this devious conspiracy.