Monday, May 07, 2007

Jews Love: Cinco De Mayo

I love Cinco de Mayo. Not only because I support Mexican Independence (they deserved it even more than the Americans, although I do have some issues with some of the top-down independence movements), but also because it is one of the few holidays that I, as an observant Jew, can take part in without feeling guilty. I mean, I guess that I could celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, or Bastille Day, but neither of those have the potential for guacamole or tequila. For the record, I do actually know the history of Cinco de Mayo, and am not just looking for an occasion to drink. I just happen to like theme parties.

As a result, I had a Cinco de Mayo Melave Malke*. I served tequila, coronas, nachos, bean dip, 4-layer dip, guacamole, and plain (blue) chips. Also, according to TJ Shroat of In the Pink Texas, most traditional Cinco de Mayo cakes come with a figurine of a (specific) Argentinian Jew on top due to a TV segment.

Kosher "Mexican" food. Cheese, but no meat here!

Leah of Accidentally Jewish celebrated Cinco de Mayo with "18 lbs of guacamole," but felt uncomfortable watching the fight, as it is a bloodsport. She said " don't care how big a match it is, it is a violent sport and aren't Jews supposed to abhore the sight of blood?" I'd never heard of that, but I'll make an effort to look it up now. Speaking of looking things up, according to Lindsay William-Ross of LAist (like Gothamist, but for LA). mangoes are the most popular fruit in the world, including with her Jewish grandmother. In the same vein Itai had a vaguely Mexican-themed Shabbat meal, but ran into what I consider the eternal dilemma: ethnic food that is not traditional Jewish (Ashkenaz OR Sephard) food doesn't tend to hold well over Shabbat, because really, who prepares something, and then needs it to sit/heat/reheat for 5-6 or 18 hours?

Of course, I am sure that many Jewish organizations used Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to hold a singles' mixer (Lauren of Lost in Texas declined to go to one of them), and I guess that is cool, but let's just say that no one talked about the importance of endogamy at my party.

*Melave Malke means "accompanying the queen" and it is traditionally a party/celebration to escort out the "Shabbat Queen" (Shabbat is often personified as a queen). This type of party is popular in Chassidic circles, and is often comprised of drinking, snack foods, and stories about the rebbe. According to some sources Melave Malkes were started by King David, whose death was foretold to occur on a Shabbat, so at the end of every Shabbat he celebrated his continued existence.


Diana said...

We had Cinco De Mayo Shalosh Seudos, which was great, although we were sorely lacking tequila!

Aunt L. said...

Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, VA, had a Cinco de Mayo kiddush, with tequila, corn chips, 5-layer dip, guacamole, salsa, "fried" ice cream (ice cream topped with cornflakes and honey), and cookies served from sombreros.

Chris said...

Guy Fawkes Day is such a Prot holiday.

Leah said...

All the men (save three) were in the basement watching the fight and all the women (save three) were upstairs with the guacamole.

Ha ha! When I googled "jews abhore sight of blood" I got myself. In part because I can't spell abhor correctly.

Anywho, here's a little Boteach about the laws of Kashrut teaching us to abhor blood.

Annie said...

Diana- clearly the tequila is key.

Aunt L- I was missing the sombreros.

Chris- true that.

Leah- thanks for the info. And I'll always choose guacamole over boxing. Maybe not football though.

Suzie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzie said...

(sorry typo)

Cinco de Mayo is not actually Mexican Independence Day. It is actually not a big deal at all in Mexico and is more of a capitalist encouraged holiday so you'll drink lots of Corona's and spend a lot of money at restaurants like Blockheads and Nacho Mamas, or where ever. I'm not saying that its bad.. its just funny that everyone thinks its this major thing.

In fact, according to wikipedia:

Cinco de Mayo ("The Fifth of May" in Spanish) is primarily a regional, and not a federal, holiday in Mexico; the date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. It commemorates an initial victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. A common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day; Mexico's Independence Day is September 16 (dieciséis de septiembre in Spanish).

Sorry.. but i hope you had fun.. I definitely had Mexican brunch by accident. and it was delicious;)

Annie said...

Suzie- I didn't mean to suggest that Cinco De Mayo is Mexican independence day, but instead the celebration of a specific battle in the long, drawn-out war for independence. I do agree that it is now mostly commercialized, but heck, what isn't?