Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A New Ethnic Holiday

Yesterday was Pulaski Day here in Chicago, so I had the day off of work and my kids had the day off of school.

This weekend, my son and I were discussing the phenonenon of ethnic holidays. They're a way of honoring various ethnic groups in the wonderful mosaic that is the United States. Pulaski Day honors the many Americans of Polish ancestry. Dr. Martin Luther King Day honors not only a great man, but the cultural, historic and scientific contributions of African-Americans. Those who protest Columbus Day as a "politically incorrect" holiday probably are unaware that it started as a way to honor Italian-Americans, who suffered horrendous discrimination at one time.

My son then pointed out that regarding that, we should be doing more to honor Latino people, the fastest growing group in our nation.

Of course, the fastest their population grew is when President Polk ordered troops to provoke a war with Mexico and provide a pretext for seizing two-third's of Mexico's territory. The Mexican citizens who happened to be on that land got the "privilege", of course, of choosing U.S. Citizenship or repatriation to a vastly reduced Mexico.

But I digress. My son is absolutely right. We need another holiday, if only to give teachers another day off. Since the majority of Latino Americans are of Mexican ancestry, I think it should focus on them. I thought about the choices: Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is ironically, a fun holiday, but who wants a holiday with "Dead" in the title, unless maybe you're wearing tie-dye. Dia De La Independencia, Independence Day, would be okay, but we already have an Independence Day. That leaves Cinco de Mayo. I think that this is the one we should lobby for. So I need your help. We need to decide which date every year we should celebrate it on. Your suggestions are appreciated.


Erik Donald France said...

Good post -- my mother was just saying, even during wars with Islamic cultures, the KKK will want to pick a new one with Mexico and Latinos. I reminded her (as you say here) that we've already drummed up one or two before. How about a holiday for Poncho Villa? Wicked!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I don't know very much about Latin/American relations, but one always needs more holidays. Especially in the winter.

deadspot said...

Bah! There are already too many holidays in May. My birthday's in May. My anniversary is in May. My brother's anniversary is in May... on my birthday. My sister-in-law's anniversary is in May, on my birthday again. (My wife's sister, of course. Obviously, my brother's wife has the same anniversary he does. If you're keeping score, that's one brother, two sisters-in-law, and one brother-in-law who have their anniversary on my birthday. Hey! If you know me, pick a different day to get maried on already.) We have May Day, Mother's Day, and Memorial Day. By the end of May, I'm suffering from holiday burnout.

Plus Cinco de Mayo is boring. Unless you're really into the Battle of Puebla, it's just an excuse to eat burritos and drink Carta Blanca.

Dia de los Muertos on the other hand is, as Dr. Thaddeus Venture says, "crazy dead people Christmas." It's got booze, food, ancient pagan rites, skeletons, wacky antics... it sounds like a lot more fun to me. I love Halloween. I'll take two, please. I want my damned sugar skulls.