Siete de Mayo

I missed my chance to wish you all happy Cinco de Mayo. Honestly I have no idea what that is... let me Google.


Okay so apparently it has something to do with the Battle of Puebla. Or, alternatively, the celebration of Mexican pride.

Funny how a holiday reeking of historical consequence and national pride (albeit a foreign nation's) can be reduced to sombreros and margaritas. I love my awesome friend Fi, but today on Facebook she mentioned that it is a holiday in Scotland, and she got me thinking.

A "bank holiday."

Of course our conversation was about my starting a new job and my reluctance to get out of bed, so a discussion of how the majority of Scotland isn't working today because of the bank holiday was applicable, but it still got me wondering. "Why is it a bank holiday?" "What is the historical significance?"

In the US, we have a few bank holidays. These are the days my mother doesn't have to work and I complain that I still do because I'm a lowly college student.

The U.S. Office of Personel Management (yes! There exists such a thing) has all the federal holidays mapped out  until 2020 on their site (hover over the word "site" and click on it. I dare you!). It lists the dates and names of the holidays, including New Year's Day, Christmas, and Memorial Day.

I think we all know the significance of these, even if they are often forgotten for the sake of presents or parties or parades. But Columbus day? Or Washington's birthday? Do we treat them any differently than a Saturday? I don't. And I don't know if I'm happy about that.

Take Columbus day. We all know Columbus. Heck, we might not be here if it weren't for him. If not Columbus, no doubt someone else would eventually have found the Americas, but would it have ended up quite like it has? Probably not. But Columbus Day is not just celebrated for that event that fills the first chapters of an American History textbook. According to this awesome pdf (I dare you to click on "pdf"), this day also celebrates the arrival of 5 million Italians to the US about a century ago.

Considering that I am rather Italian, this is relevant. But do I care?

I think far too often we get so caught up with our day to day lives we can't stop and think. No wonder America isn't what it used to be.

Now I have to get to my new job and stop brain-vomiting on my blog. But I wanted to wish my Mexican friends/readers a belated Happy Cinco de Mayo, with all the historical meaning I can muster. And I have to wonder how we'd feel if Patriot Day was someday remembered by a few backyard barbecues and people upset that they have the day off to shop but can't go to the bank.