Well, it’s Cinco de Mayo again, and for many here in the U.S. it’s our yearly opportunity to adopt (and most likely butcher) the heritage and culture of another country for one day. We put on sombreros, listen to mariachi music, yell words like “Hola!” and “Amigo!” at our friends and of course drink Mexican beer. A lot of people have a go-to choice like Corona, Negra Modelo, Tecate or Pacifico. However, for me this is a somber day, because in my ignorant youth my go-to choice was Tequiza.
Ironically, Tequiza was an Anheuser-Busch product that wasn’t even from Mexico, but they pumped it full of the flavors of blue agave and lime, and once a year I would raise a glass and thank Mexico for giving us Selma Hayek and tequila. Much like people who insist on drinking a green-dyed beer on St. Patrick’s Day, I knew this beer wasn’t good, but there was something fun about the tradition. Americans have a way of using exaggerated stereotypes of foreign cultures to celebrate things that have nothing to do with us, without regard for its level of offensiveness (aka “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-shirts and green plastic leprechaun hats), and they’re some of the best parties of the year.
As I reminisced about Cinco de Mayo’s gone by, I began to think “Why don’t we do this with more holidays?”. It shouldn’t be exclusive to St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, and one could argue that it is actually discriminatory not to treat other country’s holidays the same way we treat Ireland and Mexico’s. So here are some ideas:
Canada: Victoria Day (The Monday before May 25th). We can all start celebrating Queen Victoria’s Birthday together, with giant maple-leaf shaped birthday cakes, following each sentence with, “eh”, drinking gallons of Molson and Labatt’s Blue beer and wearing Royal Canadian Mountie hats. It would probably be overkill to have an annual screening of Dudley Do-Right, right?
France: Bastille Day (July 14th). Let’s all celebrate the start of the French Revolution by dressing up in Breton shirts and berets, jamming out to the RUSH song of the same name while downing some ice cold Kronenbourg lagers and exclaiming, “Sacrebleu!”.
Italy: Liberation Day (April 25th). There’s no better way to commemorate the end of WWII than by taking a gondola ride while dressed as the Super Mario Bros. before pounding some Peroni’s and eating a leaning tower of pizzas.
My nostalgia has run amok, but you get the idea. Sadly, Tequiza was discontinued in Jan. 2009, which is why for me Cinco de Mayo has taken on such a bittersweet feel. I enjoy a good party, but I lament a fallen friend. The biggest slap-in-the-face came shortly after Tequiza’s passing, when Anheuser-Busch issued the following statement:
Wow, Anheuser-Busch, way to kick a man when he’s down. Tequiza wasn’t a good beer, but deserved better than being compared to and replaced by Bud Light Lime. I’m surprised Anheuser-Busch didn’t issue a condolence statement when Patrick Swayze died, saying “We are very sorry to hear of the passing of Patrick Swayze, but we encourage you to try Don Swayze for superior character acting with a refreshing take on Patrick Swayze’s good looks”.