Why Do Aussies Celebrate Cinco De Mayo?

Produced in association with our mates at Corona.

May’s a pretty special month, and the first week of it even more so. While May 4th may be for Jedi’s/Slutterers, May 5th is one of the most important days for the country of Mexico.
Cinco de Mayo – in English, literally “May the 5th” – is a day of much celebration and revelry for the nation and the Mexican people. But beyond that, the whole thing has entered the global party lexicon, and particularly so here in Australia.
Why, though? On the surface it might look reasonably straightforward – it’s a holiday celebration that chiefly revolves around having a few beers. A sentiment that all Australians can get well and truly behind.
But it’s the history – such history! – that really make it the perfect fit for Australia beyond being an extremely pun-rich source.

The actual holiday itself has its roots way back in 1862. The French Invasion of Mexico was in full swing, following the aftermath of the Mexican-American War and the Reform War that left the Mexican Treasury essentially bankrupt, forcing the country to suspend foreign debt. France’s response was to send their navy fleets to Veracruz and launch a ground invasion, in an effort to capture Mexico and establish a Latin empire.
The large and extremely well equipped French army was, at the time, regarded as the premiere army in the world. But on the 5th of May in 1862, a 6,000 strong core of French ground troops encountered heavy resistance near Puebla in the form of a 2,000 strong, and much less experienced and prepared group of Mexican fighters.
Despite the sizeable man and skill disadvantage, the Mexican army – under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín – managed to crush the French forces and score an historic victory for the Mexican people.
And THAT is why it appeals to us as Australians. The classic underdog story! The battlers! The working class! We don’t back the favourite in this country, we pump up the scrappy little guy. Much like that victory, and much like Mexico itself, we may not be as technically gifted or have numbers that compare to other more fancied rivals – but holy hell, if we all roll up our sleeves and grit our teeth, we can put up one hell of a fight.
But beyond that, Australia has – in the past decade or so – gathered quite an affinity for Mexico and its culture. You can scarcely wander around inner Sydney or Melbourne without running into a Mexican restaurant; somewhere offering up their own take on the classic burrito or taco. From the popular stores like Beach Burrito, Playa Takeria, SoCal,Cantina Mobil, or Dos Senoritas in Sydney, and Acland St Cantina, Trippy Taco, Touche Hombre and Gringo Vibes in Melbourne, to the surprisingly decent chain outlets like Guzman Y Gomez.
But beyond that, we’ve long had a real solid love for Mexican culture – the iconography, the music, the pastimes, everything!
So come May 5th (that’s this Tuesday, ya dorks) go out and get well involved with Cinco De Mayo! Grab a burrito! Smash down a churro! Go see some Mexican dance and music gigs! Pop on some Lucha Underground and watch the finest wrestling Mexico has to offer!
And perhaps most important, grab some amigos, grab some lime wedges, and Sinko de Beerso!

Keen to get in the spirit? Corona is teaming up with the best Mexican restaurants around the country to bring you a Cinco de Mayo fiesta to remember. For details on Sydney head HERE,

Melbourne HERE

and Brisbane HERE.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images.