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Cinco de Mayo and Pie for Peace

5 May 2010 2 Comments

Pillar of Peace: Conflict Transformation

Commentary by Liora Herman, Marketing and Outreach Manager

The 5th of May has its roots in Mexican history. But contrary to popular celebration it is not the official day to eat chips and salsa and consume giant margaritas, even though that sounds enticing. Even more surprisingly, it is NOT the celebration of Mexican Independence. So in the name of all that is holy, cheese dip and guacamole, what is Cinco de Mayo?

Image by José Guadalupe Posada, Mexican engraver

Image via Wikipedia

The holiday of Cinco De Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, with some limited recognition in other parts of Mexico, and especially in US cities with a significant Mexican population (Mexonline.com).

So how did the holiday become so big in the US? My first guess is too many margaritas, but according to Mexonline, “Commercial interests in the United States and Mexico have also had a hand in promoting the holiday, with products and services focused on Mexican food, beverages and festivities, with music playing a more visible role as well. Several cities throughout the US hold parades and concerts during the week following up to May 5th, so that Cinco de Mayo has become a bigger holiday north of the border than it is to the south, and being adopted into the holiday calendar of more and more people every year.”

Cinco de Mayo parade in Saint Paul, Minnesota,...

Image via Wikipedia

All of this debauchery celebrating a victory of war! So how do we celebrate a victory of peace? Anybody know? Ideas? Inklings? Pie? No peace holidays stand out in my mind that have the same national recognition Cinco de Mayo has. International Day of Peace, on September 21st, is still largely unknown to the masses. Washington, DC has memorialized war and its victims time and time again. But where are the physical tributes to peace? As a publicly proclaimed pie lover, I will loan the celebration of pie to the celebration of peace, and raise you one delicious holiday.

Imagine if we started to highlight the values and victories of peace instead of their costs. A Chinese Ambassador’s speech only serves to highlight the atrocities of the war that preceded the peace. A member of the Maylaysian Ba’hai Community talks about the violence and terror that many are experiencing in the Middle East. Peace is almost always talked about in the context of war. I believe it is time for a culture change. It is time we started discussing and promoting peace, for the sake of peace.

Yes, crimes and violence sell more newspapers and yes, shock and awe are always effective ways for the media to grab attention. But how is our community to know that peace is NOT solely the absence of war? Peace is so much more. Maybe we could develop a delicious low-carb food group for the celebration of peace? OR everyone could go on war diets! Now that is a diet I could stick to. We must work to instill hope in each other, hope that our actions can bring about a better tomorrow. One must understand that peace can exist at multiple levels and it is up to you and me to see it through. Peace is a process, and together we will build it.

Margarita

Image by smohundro via Flickr

So, as you sip your margarita this Cinco de Mayo and enjoy the strumming of the mariachis, remember that you are participating in the commercialized commemoration of a war victory. I hope you sit a little uneasy as you recognize the value mainstream culture puts on war. And I encourage you to think about what would be different if we put the same price on peace. Yes sustainable peace, the whole enchilada!

Not to exclude the rice and beans―seriously, my favorite part―OK, besides the margaritas. Please don’t make me choose! But I am going to make you choose. If you could celebrate PEACE one day each year, when would you do it? And with what foods? Do you find one season more peaceful than others? Should we have a season of peace? I am personally a fan of fall: much less pollen, and I love the colors.

What are your ideas for a party worthy of peace?


Already, Peace X Peace and its members have identified eight requirements for thriving communities. We call them the Pillars of Peace.

Each of the Pillars is an essential component of a culture that embodies values, attitudes, choices, modes of behavior, and ways of life that will ultimately lead to sustainable peace.

The Pillars of Peace are:

• Conflict Transformation
• Cross-cultural Understanding
• Economic Empowerment
• Education
• Environmental Sustainability
• Health and Well-being
• Interfaith Dialogue
• Justice and Good Governance

Peace X Peace believes that shared effort to strengthen all the Pillars, with women’s leadership and active engagement, is vital to achieve sustainable peace.

Click to learn more.

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2 Comments to “Cinco de Mayo and Pie for Peace”
  1. Dick Africano says:

    As soon as we can get women running ALL the governments around the world, we will have a much better chance of having a peace that we can celebrate. As a representative of the male part of mankind, I can confess we have done an incredibly rotten job of promoting peace. We need to experience it before we can celebrate it; maybe that is why there is no widely known celebratory day. Keep trying! Some of the male population is coming to realize that women have a much better sense of the value of peace and can help us achieve it if given the power to do so. I’ll be glad to celebrate a day, week, year or eternity of peace with any food that is available – even Okra.
    PEACE.

  2. Liora says:

    Dick, you are really pushing your luck with Okra. And I totally agree that experiencing it should come before celebration. But in many places and on many levels peace has been achieved. And it has not been given due recognition. Peace and war are things that permeate the past and influence the future. But we must learn to recognize its qualities in the present if we ever hope to create a sustainable peace.

    Just my thoughts.

    Others? Foods?

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