History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man. <
~Percy Bysshe Shelley
Yesterday, the fourth was with us. Today, the revenge of the fifth, but aside from that almost sad reach for the Star(Wars) and being rather fun to say, ‘fifth’ looks weird and is fun to say.
Fifth, fifth, fifth, fifth, fifth.
Historically, the Cinco de Mayo has more going for it than jokes about BestFoods in a basin and a colorful Mexican holiday.
In actual fact, the condiment, like the Irish county, is pronounced “mā-ō”, and the holiday originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. (Mexico’s Independence Day is el dieciseis de septiembre … much harder to convert into a photo meme.)
It was on the 5th of May in 1862 the Mexican forces loyal to Benito Juarez defeated troops sent by Napoleon III in the Battle of Puebla. Coincidentally, it was also on a 5th of May, in 1821, that Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile on the island of St. Helena, so we might say that el cinco de Mayo doesn’t sound so good in French.
Also on this day the 13th Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery (1865), Jesse Owens set the long jump record (1935), Holland and Denmark were liberated from the Nazis (1945), Alan Shepard became the first American in space (1961) and Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, John B. Stetson (the hat guy) and Michael Palin were born.
Funny thing about dates …
They’re arbitrary, not real things in any real way … as Einstein said: an illusion.
“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
~ Albert Einstein
When the earth was flat and lives were shorter, chariots were sometimes thought to be the vehicles of the rising sun, yet now we’re on a globe NOT at the center of the universe … but what’s a couple of thousand years in the grand scheme? Not even an eye blink.
But how else are we puny humans, chained as we are to our biological forms and reliant on biochemical actions and reactions, to sort out our perception of the world around us?
Imagine the confusion if every 5th of May Napoleon Bonaparte died at the same time the 3rd Napoleon got his ass kicked in Mexico! Sacré blue! The French would never stand for such a thing.
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
~ Albert Einstein