Cinco De Mayo, or the 5th of May, has somehow become a national holiday in the U.S.A. Essentially it has become another excuse to go out, get drunk, and eat bad food. Like all the other invented holidays we have. While everyone is out slurping down margaritas and destroying their lower intestines with burritos and tacos, few people know the true origins of said holiday. Some say it’s to celebrate some battle for independence in Mexico or some such story. Not true. In fact, Cinco De Mayo came about quite by accident. Here is the true account of how this holiday came to be.
In the early part of the 20th century there was a grand worlds fair being held in London, England. The fair featured many wonderful advances in science and industry including the latest automobiles, flying machines, and other inventions. Food was also a big deal at the fair and amongst the many vendors plying their wares was one small kiosk run by a man named Hellmann. Mr. Hellmann had created a new food item which he used to spread on things like sandwiches, and other goodies. He called his creation, mayonnaise. Mr. Hellmann’s mayonnaise was the hit of the fair with people coming from all over to taste said creation.
As it so happens, the Mexican ambassador to England was attending the fair and came upon Mr. Hellmann’s booth, The ambassador sampled some of the mayonnaise and immediately fell in love with it. He bought a case of it on the spot and had it shipped back to Mexico. When it arrived the Mexican authorities also tried the new concoction and were equally impressed. They wired the ambassador back in London to order as much of mayonnaise as Mr. Hellman could possibly make.
So, the ambassador gave the order to Mr. Hellmann who went right to work to fill said order. He had to hire extra workers and opened a larger factory to make the sufficient quantities of mayonnaise the ambassador had ordered. Finally, after weeks of hard work, the mayonnaise was bottled, packed, and ready to ship.
As it so happens often, fate intervened. The shipment was loaded onto ocean liner heading across the Atlantic. The name of said ocean liner was the Titanic. It was a brand new ship, top of the line, making it’s maiden voyage. It’s intended journey was to head for New York City for a grand celebration then head south to Mexico, where it would drop off the precious cargo of mayonnaise to a grateful Mexican people on the 5th of May.
Alas, you know the story. Thanks to a big hunk of ice, the Titanic never completed her voyage. Her rusted hull, still containing the cargo of mayonnaise sits forever at the bottom of the Atlantic.
The Mexican government, when they heard of the disaster were devastated. There was a period of mourning and in a show of remembrance Mexico created the holiday which we all celebrate today…
Sinko De Mayo