Cinco De Mayo (Spanish: “Fifth of May”) is a national holiday in Mexico in honor of the military victory over the French forces of Napolean III in 1862. According to a report written by Pew Hispanic Research Center, there were 33.7 million Hispanics of Mexican origins in the United States in 2012. In turn, Hispanics have quite a voice in America and their cultural constructs are widely accepted. In the states, Cinco De Mayo is a big deal.
I had a rather difficult time finding any formal statistics about Mexicans in the UAE. The best information I came across was extracted from a Gulf News article written in 2011. The article was titled, “Mexicans in UAE ready for National Day Fiesta”. The article noted that there were about 1,200 Mexicans in the UAE; most of whom resided in Dubai, but also in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. The Mexican population is small here in the UAE and that is likely why I haven’t heard much about Cinco De Mayo celebrations.
Being far removed from the normal “Fifth of May” reminders that I’m used to, I was surprised when my husband told me we had received an invitation to join friends for a Cinco De Mayo celebration. The hosts were American as well and they put on a fun and appropriate affair. Traditional Mexican food and drinks were served. The menu included enchiladas, tortilla chips with dip and fixings for your choice of hard or soft shell tacos. There was beer of course, and margaritas. There was also a homemade margarita cheesecake that I left before trying. I’m sure I missed a treat. Beyond the good food and drinks, it was a nice gathering of people who had all been brought together through their experiences as expats in Abu Dhabi. We met cool people from different places and enjoyed their company. In foreign lands, where there aren’t many Mexicans, their national holiday is spurring good will and comradery. That’s definitely something to celebrate.