Two May holidays

Wow, we blinked and the next thing we know is that our year is already 1/3 over! It doesn’t seem possible that we are already in the fifth month of the year. We’ve just celebrated Easter and now it is time to celebrate our May holidays.
This past week was quiet by my standards. My trip to Devine was uneventful as far as traveling went, especially as there were storm warnings going on, but I was never in any bad weather, until I got to Hwy. 173, and it rained on me the rest of the way to Devine! I had a wonderful time not only getting to see everyone at bunco, but having lunch with friends and family and visiting with other friends. My friends in Castroville took some family members and me out for lunch on Thursday, and we sort of celebrated my recent birthday, as they were unable to attend the party that was here in Yoakum. As always, both the company and the food were wonderful.
On Friday, the trip home was pleasant and smooth going as both the weather and the traffic was good. Not an enormous amount of traffic and I was able to drive in cruise almost all the way. I took a little different way home, as I wanted to go to Gonzales to get gas, (10 cents cheaper there!), and pick up a few groceries. It was about three or four miles further than the way I usually go, but it was nice as the store is much larger than ours. Also there is a ‘mushroom farm’ located a few miles out of the city and the mushrooms they handle are awesome!
Saturday dawned as a beautiful day and I made a quick trip to Victoria with a friend before my granddaughter came to visit for the weekend. She had been on the road for several hours and was tired, so we just sat around and visited and then, we went outside, where she ‘built’ the BBQ grill she had gotten and cooked supper for us. The steaks were delicious, as were the green beans and the salad. She surely does know how to cook! It was a totally pleasurable finish to a great week. She left this morning to finish her trip to a week of meetings and maybe some visiting with relatives!
May is a month with more holidays/celebrations than many of our other months. First, we have May Day on May 1. It is not celebrated in our country as much as it is in other countries. In many places, it is celebrated with a show of military arms. In others, it is celebrated with parties, May poles and May baskets. In my grade school days, we made a May basket out of woven strips of construction paper for our mothers. When I was working at the nursing home, one of the aides, made each of us a May basket filled with tiny flowers and hung them from our doorknobs. I did the same when I was at the paper just to have a little treat for my friends!
This coming Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, (May 5). This date is not celebrated very much in the Devine area and as far as I know is not celebrated in Yoakum at all. There may be something going on in some of the surrounding cities, but at this time I am not aware of any celebrations.
Of course, the place it is most celebrated is in the State and City of Puebla in Mexico where it all began in 1862.
The origination of Cinco de Mayo commemorates the defeat of the French army by the Mexicans at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. And, this battle happened at a violent and chaotic time in Mexico’s history. The country had finally gained independence from Spain in 1810, and a number of internal political takeovers and wars, including the Mexican-American War and the Mexican Civil war of 1858, had completely wiped out the national economy. The country had accumulated large debts to Spain, England and France, who were demanding payment.
On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for a brief period of two years, with the promise that after this period, payments would resume. When Mexico stopped making any payments the Spanish and English eventually withdrew, but the French refused to leave. Their intention was to create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III who believed that if the United States was allowed to prosper indiscriminately, it would eventually become a power in and of itself. Eager to add to its empire, France decided to use the debt issue to establish its own leadership in Mexico by installing Napoleon’s relative, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, as ruler of Mexico.
France invaded the Gulf coast of Mexico and began to march towards Mexico City. Although American President Abraham Lincoln was sympathetic to Mexico’s cause, the United States was involved in its own civil War at the time and was unable to provide any assistance.
Along the way to Mexico City, the French army encountered some strong resistance at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, a small, poorly armed militia of about 4,500 Mestizo and Zapotec Indians were able to stop and defeat a well outfitted French army of 6,500 soldiers. The victory was a glorious moment for Mexican patriots and is the cause for the historical date’s celebration.
Unfortunately, the victory was short lived. Napoleon III, upon hearing the bad news, found this an excuse to send more troops overseas to help Maximilian, against the wishes of the French populace. 30,000 more troops and a year later, the French were eventually able to depose the Mexican army, take over Mexico City and install Maximilian as ruler. However, his rule was also short, being only from 1864 until 1867, and despite the French invasion of Mexico City, the Battle of Puebla honors the bravery and victory of General Zaragoza’s militia in 1862.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo has become increasingly popular along the U.S.-Mexico border and in parts of the United States that have a large population of people with Mexican heritage.
With Fiesta just ending in San Antonio, I am sure you noticed the beautiful tissue paper or crepe paper flowers decorating the floats in the parade, but, did you know that they are relatively simple to make?
Tissue or crepe paper
Chenille stems in matching color (also called ‘pipe cleaners’)
Florist wire
Leaves (if desired)
Make a nice, neat stack of 6 pieces of colored tissue paper or crepe paper. For thicker, denser flowers, use 3 or 4 additional layers of paper.
Cut the stack into a 12-inch width. It can be any length– 12-inches or more if desired.
Accordion pleat the entire stack to make a fan. Secure the center of the fan with a wire twist tie or a piece of florist wire. Trim the ends with scissors. If you cut an arch shape, you will have a round flower. You can also use fancy scissors for ruffled edges. (Like the different edged scissors you would use in scrap booking).
Bend the fan in half at the twist tie and separate each layer of tissue carefully, beginning with the outside and working your way in.
Add a stem made from a chenille stem in a matching color; add leaves or foliage if desired.
A 12-inch wide section of tissue paper will make a flower about 9-inches wide. Cut it narrower to make smaller, tighter flowers.
Our next May holiday will be Mother’s Day on May 12, and we’ll talk about that next week and maybe have some recipes!