An Understanding of
the Origins of Cinco de Mayo
By Heney Keur, Ph.D.,
I have been asked by certain persons to explain the origins
of Cinco de Mayo. These “persons” are, incidentally, the same persons referred
to by Matt Lauer when he states, “Some people say . . .” and then continues on
to interrogate the victim, er . . . I mean, interview the guest.
So the following is a compendium of my heavily researched
study of the origins of this great excuse to eat real Mexican food.
Now, first came Uno, which is some of the best-eat’n pizza
in the world;
Next came dos, which is how you take your medicine on a
Then we have tres, which is what you did while holding your hand on purple
construction paper back in kindergarten;
Next we have Cuatro, who was, of course, the Great Plains Indian chief.
Finally, we arrive at Cinco de Mayo, which is a particular Mexican delicacy
noted for the heavy use of mayonnaise.
So you see, Cinco de Mayo originated when the great Chief
Cuatro sat down one evening to eat a take-out Uno’s pizza. Just as he was about to take the first bite,
he remembered that he forgot to take his medicine. So he excused himself from the table and went
into the medicine man’s tepee. While
there, he saw a drawing of the medicine man’s young son’s hand, which the boy
had drawn on purple construction paper earlier that day. Chief Cuatro was amused, and he returned to
the table, pondering the meaning of it all.
When he sat down, he found that the last piece of pizza had been
consumed by none other than the medicine man’s boy. Whereupon he walked into the kitchen looking
for something to eat, as it appeared pizza was no longer on the evening’s menu. He noticed a certain cornmeal concoction, a
delicacy imported recently from Mexico. It was sitting on a plate near the sink
(cinco, in Spanish). He picked it up,
slathered a little mayonnaise on it, and—voila!—Cinco de Mayo was born! The great Chief Cuatro became famous as the
inventor of Cinco de Mayo, though he never really did figure out the meaning of
it all, and he wasn’t even Mexican.