no, gentle reader, the fifth of may is not mexico's independence day -- that falls on 16 september. cinco de mayo commemorates the mexican army's unlikely defeat of the much larger and better-equipped french army at the battle of puebla on this date in 1862. in mexico it is more a regional than a national holiday. however, both in mexico and in other countries, the date has become a celebration of mexican heritage and pride.
i lived for twenty years in southern arizona, and very much miss the latino flavor of language there. each time i return, i love hearing spanish spoken casually (though to my discredit my own fluency is mediocre at best), and i love the blending of cultures. this has been my experience each time i've moved to a different part of the country -- new traditions, new regional dialects, new friends, and if i'm lucky, new lovers as well. the world is rich and varied, and the more we travel, the more complete we become. it is analogous to the notion that complex ideas require a complex vocabulary. in this case, the complex vocabulary of human contact, the exchange of ideas and beliefs, can only enrich our lives, que no? feliz cinco de mayo!!