On May fourth, 2004 – and after nine months of preparations, I started the hardest work in the world, labor with my first child. It was not delightful, it was not pain free, it was not like in the movies. Not even Lamaze helped. It took 36 hours to be over, it took some IV’s, some pain medication, and finally an Epidural. I do not remember the details, and some of them are really too gross to describe. But I do remember one of the nurses telling me, “this baby will be a Cinco de Mayo baby.” With all my pain, and my suffering, I looked at her and said, “What is Cinco de Mayo?” She looked at me and said, “You should know it, you are Mexican aren’t you?” I did not felt offended at all, I just felt like she did not answer my question. Perhaps May the Fourth was with me the day before, but Cinco de Mayo came without self-description. After all, this new Bolivian immigrant, was just getting used to the Holidays in the States. What in the world was Cinco de Mayo?
My son was born a beautiful Seis de Mayo in the morning. I was thrilled that after all, the delivery was somehow natural, and I was able to have it in a very nice hospital. My midwife and husband were by me at all times. It was indeed a special day, a day to be thankful, the pain was over and my son was born. I was starting to get used to be a momma and to forget all the pain of Cinco de Mayo until one of our first visits said, “We thought it was going to be a Cinco de Mayo baby!” Again I looked at her and said, “What is Cinco de Mayo?” She replied, ” All Mexicans celebrate it!” Again, the answer did not explain anything, specially considering that I am Bolivian, not Mexican. My son was going to be an American Bolivian baby. On Seis de Mayo, my baby is turning 11, he knows what Mexicans celebrate el Cinco de Mayo. But, in case you do not know it, here a little explanation. ,
Cinco de Mayo commemorates La Batalla de Puebla. Celebrating Mexican victory over France, 1862. Mexicans and some Latinos in the States celebrate Cinco de Mayo not because of the battle, but because it has become a day of Latino Pride Community. There is no doubt that it is a great opportunity to sell more stuff to the Mexican and Latino market.
I like Mexican food, specially if it is homemade stuff, I like hot peppers and I like Mariachis. I know, being a Mexican goes beyond tacos and sombreros, it really goes beyond what the market sells. All Mexicans are Hispanics, but not all Hispanics are Mexicans. Not all Hispanics celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the States.
I take pride of being Bolivian. I think this Bolivianita has married a great culture. Where everyday I become a little bit more citizen of this world and I celebrate life instead of race.
Do you celebrate el Cinco de Mayo? Did you know what it celebrates?