In America, we say “The 4th of July” when talking about our Independence Day. It would seems natural, then, that “The 5th of May” would be the Mexican equivalent. Not so. Actually, Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of an 1862 battle between an under-armed, under-manned Mexican army against a well-armed French Army led by Napoleon III. Clearly, the Mexican army won, hence the celebration every 5th of May.
Most people don’t know that back in 1912, Hellmann’s mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Veracruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the ship after its stop in New York.
This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know, the ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost.
The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day.
The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as
Sinko de Mayo.