Today is the fifth of May, which means only one thing, Cinco de Mayo (and today’s BEDM topic) – ARRIBA!
This is a great excuse, particularly in Mexico and the United States, to have a massive themed street party with tortilla chips and guacamole (apparently 81 million avocados are eaten on 5 May in the USA!), sombreros and maracas, and mariachi music. I’ve seen more mention of this celebration here in the UK, too, as mass media brings the world closer together we pay much more attention to the fun stuff that other countries get up to these days.
But actually Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of an unexpected victory.
In May 1862, a powerful French army was in Mexico, fighting its way to Mexico City. The French army was, as you might expect, well-armed, well-disciplined and was powerful, destroying all resistance on its way to the capital. However! Outside the town of Puebla, a small army of Mexican soldiers, most of whom had no training and only armed poor equipment, managed to defeat the French. It is the Battle of Puebla that is remembered on 5 May. I probably shouldn’t add that the French still won the war and invaded Mexico City, before being thrown out by the US Army a few years later; but even with that, the unlikely victory on Cinco de Mayo captured the hearts of the Mexican and US people and inspired them to create a festival in its honour.
Let’s face it, we all like an underdog, and those unexpected victories in history can be very inspirational. They are really great stories – just think about the number of novels and movies that base their entire length on showing just how ill-equipped the main characters are in order to make their success so very unlikely.
I bet you’ve had one or two of your own. I know I have. Times when you’ve been slogging at something for ages wondering if it’s all worth it and if you should give up, and all of a sudden something clicks into place and you are successful. But the worst thing we can do is sit back and wait. So many people use the Thomas Jefferson quote: “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” Unexpected victories are much more likely when we focus and commit.
Unexpected victories are awesome. Worth celebrating.
Find out more about Cinco de Mayo over on the History Channel. Now get your tortilla chips and guacamole out and celebrate your unexpected victories!