Surviving Cinco de Mayo: one man’s ambivalent guide to the Taco Bell of holidays


It’s not that I hate Cinco de Mayo, I’m mostly just confused. Are Americans who celebrate with sombreros and jalapeño poppers making fun of Mexicans or celebrating us? If I were to host a Cinco de Mayo party, serving homemade pozole and showing Iñárritu films, am I reclaiming the day or being suckered into something unsavory?

The only comparable celebration in America to Cinco de Mayo is St. Patrick’s Day—the country’s homage to drunkenness and the color green. And the Irish have pretty much made it into mainstream America, so maybe a debaucherous, stereotype-driven holiday is a milestone on the path to cultural acceptance?

I haven’t always been so ambivalent about the 5th of May. Once upon a time, at the height of my self-righteousness, I thought I knew what to make of this strange holidayish fiasco: it was bullshit, simple as that, a marketing invention that was also kinda racist.

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