Why Mexicans Don’t Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

It’s noon and the full length of Puerto Vallarta’s beautiful beach is packed with people. But since I set out early, I’m already settled into a prime spot, half shaded under an umbrella with a book, sun lotion, bottled water and towel– and I’m  wondering if it’s too early for some guacamole and chips.

I recently spent a week in Mexico with the family and one of my favourite things to do was enjoying a big plate of fresh guacamole, salsa and tortilla chips in the afternoon. That and sipping on piña coladas. While the guacamole was different each day, it was always fresh and delicious. Some days the guacamole was chunky and simple with the perfect amount of lime, garlic and salt, while on other days the avocado was more blended and tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and cilantro were added. Of course, the piña coladas were heavenly, made with fresh coconut cream, pineapple juice, rum and just enough crunched ice keep to keep it chilled.
Now I’m back, and just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo here at home. Aside from being fabulously relaxing, the visit renewed my appreciation for the food – fresh, bright, flavourful dishes and perfectly ripe melons and fruit – and also gave some insight into the history behind May 5th. Somewhat surprisingly, Cinco de Mayo is not a public holiday in Mexico and is not as enthusiastically celebrated as it is around the world.

In the United States and here in Canada, we welcome the day as an occasion to celebrate and enjoy Mexican food and culture. But in Mexico, the day commemorates a battle that took place in Peubla in 1862, where troops triumphed over the French army who out numbered them two to one. It’s a dark part of their history, full of oppression, and one that a local friend told me they would rather let pass.
Nonetheless, celebrations continue around the globe. It’s thought of as a reason to gather friends or family together to share some great Mexican food, cold cervezas and just maybe a shot of tequila.

Around Victoria

Here in Victoria, we are fortunate to have a number of exceptional Mexican eateries and grocers. La Taquisa serves authentic Mexican food from a cozy taco stand in Cook Street Village while Puetro Vallarta Amigos Mexican food cart can be found at the bottom of Yates during the day. Other local favourites include Carlos Cantina & Grill in Sidney and Cafe Mexico. Mexican House of Spice at 2220 Douglas sells specialty spices, sauces and homemade tortillas.

by Melody Wey

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