I had this picture planned to post next in my never-ending lists of “to-dos” and “to-posts”. A beautiful marigold from my yard, covered in dew from one of our many misty humid mornings.
While we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the US today, a few years ago I was actually in Mexico for Cinco de Mayo. (Okay, it was actually 7 years ago if I remember correctly. Ya know… what seems like yesterday. lol) I thought, “OMG! How lucky am I to be IN MEXICO during CINCO DE MAYO?!”
While that day is something I will always cherish and remember with love, it was not at all what I expected. It was so much more than I could have imagined. Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico, in fact, it’s mostly celebrated in the state of Mexico, called Puebla, which is where the Battle of Puebla took place in 1862. While it was an amazing underdog story of Mexico defeating the French Empire, it is not “Mexico’s Independence Day,” which is what I had always been told. By the way, Mexico established its independence from Spain about 50 years earlier on September 27, 1821.
Instead of celebrating an Americanized version of Mexico’s history, my husband and I explored the actual rich history of the Mayans. We witnessed the ancient Mayan ruins of Chacchoben with a local tour guide who educated us on the Mayan calendar, gods, and ways of life. Afterwards, he drove us to the village where he grew up so we could have dinner prepared with love. We helped make tortillas by hand and enjoyed a feast made by a local woman and her daughters who graciously opened their home & hearth to us. It was magnificent.
So, no wonder the marigold would pop up for me today. Marigolds have an honored place in ancient Mayan and Aztec history. They were used to honor Mayan gods and deities in ancient times. Nowadays, marigolds are used to decorate ofrendas during Los Días de Los Muertos, where they serve as a reminder to celebrate life, instead of being saddened about death.
Here’s a marigold for you to help you remember to celebrate life everyday.