The Cinco de Drinko coed 4’s volleyball tournament is one of the most enjoyable tourneys held in Hermosa Beach.  This year it will be on May 2nd, at the Hermosa Pier. For us “gringos”, we celebrate this Mexican holiday drinking cervezas and wearing mexican garb, but really not knowing what we are celebrating.  Sure, South Bay folks love to dress up and drink, play volleyball and enjoy the So Cal lifestyle at every opportunity … but there really is significance to this holiday.  Is ignorance bliss ?? … Well Smackfest Events likes to think not.  We not only embrace the athleticism, sand, sun, volleyball, booze, fun rules … but lets also pay homage to important occurrences for our neighbor to the south.  Let’s get to the bottom of this holiday and truly appreciate why the sombreros, Mariachi band, and jalepeno eating contest are such a big part of the Cinco de Drink tourney.

The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken to be Mexico’s Independence Day – the most important national holiday in Mexico – which is celebrated on September 16.  As Time magazine remarked, “The Puebla victory came to symbolize unity and pride for what seemed like a Mexican David defeating a French Goliath.” It helped establish a much-needed sense of national unity and patriotism.

The Battle of Puebla was important for at least two reasons. First, although considerably outnumbered, the Mexicans defeated a much better-equipped French army. “This battle was significant in that the 4,000 Mexican soldiers were greatly outnumbered by the well-equipped French army of 8,000 that had not been defeated for almost 50 years.” Second, since the Battle of Puebla, no country in the Americas has subsequently been invaded by any other European military force.

Ignacio Gonzalez wrote, “Some scholars, including José Antonio Burciaga, believe that had the French defeated México at Puebla, France would have aided the South in the American Civil War in order to free Southern ports of the Union Blockade. During this time, Confederate General Robert E. Lee was enjoying success, and French intervention could have had an impact on the Civil War.”

So now you know why we are celebrating !!  Cya on May 2 … and dont forget, signups for the Coed 4’s volleyball tournament begin on Thur 4/9 at www.smackfestevents.com.