To the rest of the world, the fifth of May is just another day. But to Mexicans, it’s Cinco de Mayo, a special day of national pride and celebration. Officially, it commemorates Mexico’s 1862 victory in the Battle of Puebla, when the massively outnumbered Mexican army prevailed over a French invasion force. But in the reality of today’s world, it’s just a day to celebrate Mexico.
Oddly enough, Cinco de Mayo is more of an occasion in the United States than in Mexico, thanks partly to a long-ago competition among U.S. breweries to back the occasion. But it is observed across Mexico with parties, piñatas, parades and re-enactments of the historic battle. And of course, that’s thirsty work, so there’s usually some tequila to lubricate the proceedings.
Regardless of the significance of Cinco de Mayo, it’s a day that makes us stop and think a little about Mexico. It’s a country struggling with its problems, from persistent poverty to a drug war that won’t end. But despite these worries, it’s still a special place to those of us who love to spend time enjoying its warm climate, spicy food and colourful culture.
It’s no secret that Mexico is one of my favourite destinations. I’ve written about it here many times, from Puerto Vallarta to the vibrant Mexican art to why you should still visit the country. So I thought I’d celebrate this Cinco de Mayo with a collection of photos from trips past, showing the things that symbolize, for me at least, the best of Mexico: the bright colours, the local markets, the azure sea and its creatures, the street vendors selling colourful fruit, the brilliant birds, the skeleton-faced Catrina dolls, the old churches and squares, even the burros that still labour uncomplainingly in small towns across the country.
Here’s my Cinco de Mayo celebration of the colours of Mexico. I hope you like it.