First, let's begin with the fact that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. Nope! It's a commemoration day of the Mexican Army's defeat over the intruding French on May 5th, 1862. The Battle of Puebla occurred more than 50 years after their independence.
And with that said, Cinco de Mayo is a fun, festive, joyous occasion--but truly, just for Americans. Yes, drinks are to be had-- traditionally just about anything with a margarita and/or tequila. A party with dancing and loud celebratory carrying-on is encouraged. However, keeping in mind that this is a cultural occasion, it's important to note the things that are not, in fact, necessary on this day. Actually, not only are they not necessary, but they just shouldn't happen. Like, at all.
Here are five definite things not to do on Cinco de Mayo:
1. . Don't be a stereotypical asshole.
Resist the urge to wear sombreros, fake mustaches, and serapes. Stereotypes aren't cool, and even worse is to disrespect someone on a day that you're supposedly paying homage to their history. Even if your Mexican friend says it's okay. Sometimes it can be a difficult thing to understand, but it's a rather simple thing to do.
2. . There's no need to get smashed.
To put it simply: lives were lost on this day. Getting pissy drunk isn't necessary. And, come on-- there's work tomorrow! Avoid bar brawls. Just go out for a good drink, have a few good laughs with good friends, and go home. I promise it can be done.
3. . Do not wish anyone a Happy Cinco de Mayo.
Outside of the city Puebla, this holiday is barrrrrrrrely celebrated in Mexico. Don't go running up to every Mexican wishing them a Happy Cinco de Mayo, it's not that kind of day. Also, save everyone the aggravation.
4. . Do not speak your subpar Spanish to native speakers.
I must admit that I am a subpar Spanish speaker. But, I do this on a daily basis. And like, only to my close friends and family. Not as a joke, but literally just to pretend that I'm cool enough to know another language-- I even convince a few youngins every now and then. But let me be clear: do not, I repeat, DO NOT walk up to native Spanish speakers to say "Como estas" or "Hola!" or any other entry-level Spanish word you've grown to know and love (as much as I do). And definitely leave the "iArriba! iArriba!” at home.
5. . Keep the instruments in your closet.
Let's collectively say goodbye to the stereotypical maracas and sombreros with guitars and sub-par Spanish songs today. Especially songs that you don't know the meaning to. This is basically all of the no-no's compressed into one. It's the ultimate violation.
If we're going to celebrate a Mexican holiday that Mexicans barely celebrate themselves-- let's do it respectfully!