The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Cinco de Mayo? No, Sept. 16

By Steve knight/editor-in-chief

Happy Independence Day, Mexico!

You didn’t know Mexico’s Independence Day is Sept. 16?

You thought it was on May 5 — Cinco de Mayo?

Thanks to breweries and other commercial interests, that is a common misconception.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

After the Mexican government stopped sending debt payments to France, Napoleon III chose to invade the country at the Gulf Coast port of Veracruz. Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin led a militia that defeated a better-trained and equipped French army, stopping the invasion.

Unfortunately, Napoleon III, upon hearing news of the victory, sent 30,000 more troops to Mexico. They defeated the Mexican army the next year, taking over Mexico City and installing Archduke Maximilian as emperor of Mexico, who ruled for three years.

Today, Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday in Mexico, celebrated mostly in the state of Puebla. 

Shortly before dawn on Sept. 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest in the village of Dolores, rang the church bell, calling the Indians to Mass.

His message, “Mexicanos, Viva Mexico!” (Mexicans, long live Mexico!), would call on them to rise up against the hated Spaniards.

Mexico would finally achieve its hard-fought independence in 1821.

The Mexican president rings the bells of the National Palace and proclaims “Viva Mexico!” from Mexico City’s historic Plaza de la Constitucion each Sept. 15 at 11 p.m.

Mexico’s Independence Day is the larger celebration south of the border, but May 5 is the larger celebration north of the border because beer companies promote it in their advertising.

The breweries have already exploited and commercialized every holiday to the point that many people don’t know why they are drinking.

Many Mexicans died to break away from European dominance much as America did in its war of independence.

Celebrate Sept. 16.

Enjoy the unique history and culture that is also part of our heritage.

And hope the beer companies stay out of it.

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