Apparently Cinco de Mayo is not a world holiday.

Now I have confessed that I come from the upper midwest, and with the geographical coordinates “at the top, near the middle” this segment of the hockey-crazed US is more likely to house lots of Canadians than lots of Mexicans.  However, I had never really thought much about how pervasive the Mexican influence is in US culture.  There is essentially no Mexican influence here in the UK.   This is likely not a shocking revelation to anyone who has thought about geography for 5 seconds, but it had somehow never occurred to me!

My epiphany on the subject came in a rather funny form.  This past Saturday was the 5th of May, which is “Cinco de Mayo,” a minor holiday in the US typically associated with Mexican pride but used as a good excuse for everyone to drink margaritas and eat tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole.  Note: these may be reasonably non-authentic in their grocery store incarnations, but at the moment I would trade all the taramosalata in Sainsbury’s for one good container each of fresh salsa and guac.  And yes, I know I could make some, and in the end I probably will have to.

Back to Cinco de Mayo.  It is a holiday not unlike St. Patrick’s day in that it has become an excuse to drink particular adult beverages in honor of a nation to which you probably have no connection.  My sister was here on the day, so we looked long and hard to find an appropriate venue in which to consume a margarita.  This was surprisingly difficult, and on arrival at the eventual selection we were bemused to realize that no one there seemed to know it was a minor drinking holiday.  We did, however, note that the place seemed to be overrun with other people who were clearly not from around here.  In the days since, I have tried to tell this story to several Brits, and in every case the term “Cinco de Mayo” has earned particularly blank stares.  I get it.  There’s no reason for Mexican influence to be found on this funny little island.  I’ll try to keep my wits about me, remember where I am, and stop acting surprised.  In the meantime, this midwestern girl finds herself startlingly nostalgic for decent Mexican food and top-shelf margaritas.

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2 responses to “Apparently Cinco de Mayo is not a world holiday.

  1. Pingback: Nearly missed 5/5 « Not From Around Here

  2. I know this is several years late, but just so you know, Cinco de Mayo isn’t even a MEXICAN holiday. Seriously. Just like tacos and burritos (as Americans know them anyway) are not really Mexican. Cinco de Mayo is more an American (from the U.S., as really anyone from North or South America can be called “American”), and the tacos and burritos that you might find at Taco Bell or something are more Tex-Mex and truly Mexican.

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