It's Cinco de Mayo! It's a minor regional holiday in Mexico that Americans have embraced as a celebration of Mexican culture. It is not, in fact, Mexican independence day, which is September 16. Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates the triumphant victory of Dos Equis and Corona over Budweiser and Miller as the favorite beer of people on spring break in Cabo San Lucas. It was a glorious victory over the cultural imperialist Americans. From that day forward, Dos Equis and Corona began their march northward, into the territory formerly dominated by their Yanqui competitors. They gradually became hipper and cooler, and are now the preferred beer of people who like cheap beer but also like to pretend that they're drinking something exotic and different. As Abraham Lincoln said in Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Collection, "Party on, dudes!"
This is also a great day to watch The Mexican, the Brad Pitt-Julia Roberts sort-of-romantic sort-of-comedy from a few years ago. I like it, but it took me about three viewings to really understand it. One nice thing about it is that most of the Mexicans are smarter than most of the Americans. It's also the source of one of my all-time favorite quotes, from James Ganfolfini: "I'm here to regulate funkiness."
If you do partake of your share of tequila shots today, just remember that line: be sure to regulate funkiness. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Update: Gustavo Arrellano, of Ask A Mexican! fame, has the lowdown on Cinco de Mayo, including St. Patrick's Day vs. Cinco de Mayo.