On May 5, 1862, the Battle of Puebla was waged in Mexico, and General Ignacio Zaragosa’s army scored a decisive victory against the French occupational forces. This was, of course, the event we celebrate today as Cinco de Mayo. Much like on St. Patrick’s Day, another non-official holiday commemorating something much deeper than drinking to excess, Cinco de Mayo is often used as an excuse to…drink to excess. It seems we imbalanced humans would rather not deal with the more significant, life-changing aspects of most of the holidays we honor. Much like in our lives, when something truly important is going on, we do anything we can to keep things light, and avoid the emotional component. I say, if we’re going to do that, let’s deliberately trivialize all the holidays we can. With that in mind, on this May 4th, or Quatro de Mayo if you will, here are some actual events we might consider throwing a party for.
1494 – Christopher Columbus Discovers Jamaica. Commemorate this lesser-known stop on Columbus’ itinerary by playing Bob Marley records and talking like those happy voice over announcers they use on ads for laundry detergent.
1776 – Rhode Island officially declares independence from Britain. Celebrate this day by gathering in a large group and doing what Britain did when they heard the news: yawned.
1886 – The Haymarket Square Riot, Chicago. This landmark outburst of violence over labor union unrest aroused considerable controversy around the world for the severity of the punishments against its anarchist organizers. Party!
1964 – The soap opera “Another World” premieres on national television. Among its famous alumni: Ray Liotta, Kyra Sedgwick and Morgan Freeman. You can remember this date in history by either being a great actor who suddenly appears in a string of forgettable films, marrying Kevin Bacon, or narrating a documentary about penguins.
Ongoing – Martin Z. Mollusk Day. Every year, in Ocean City, New Jersey, if Martin Z. Mollusk, a hermit crab, sees his shadow at 11 a.m., summer will come a week early. An estimated 300 people turn out to watch the spectacle each year. You can stage your own version of this special day by arranging to have no life, and finding 300 people to join you.
Happy Quatro de Mayo!