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  1. THE REAL STORY OF “CINCO” DE MAYO In the first years of the twentieth century, the British food processing conglomerate, Hellman’s, cornered the world condiment market with their flagship product, mayonnaise. It had become such a success worldwide such that Hellman’s couldn’t keep up with the demand and had to assign each country an annual allotment. In Mexico, it was a staple of the diet for rich and poor alike. To this day, Mexicans put Hellman’s on everything from their breakfast cereal to their dessert. A little known historical footnote reveals that when the Titanic sailed from Southampton on April 11, 1912, she carried in her hold the entire annual allotment of Hellman’s for Mexico for the coming year. When the news of the loss of the Titanic and its cargo reached Mexico, the entire country went into a deep emotional depression. Businesses, schools and government offices ceased to open. Farmers stopped tending their stock. People stopped going to mass, all in response to the loss of their beloved condiment. In short order, the government and the church realized that something dramatic had to be done to snap the nation out of this funk, so they scheduled a holiday. The hope was that people would come out of their homes and into the streets, businesses would reopen, and life would begin anew. So they scheduled special masses, fiestas, concerts, parades, sporting events and whatever else they could think of to lure people out of their homes and breathe new life into the communities. That holiday was scheduled for May 5, 1912. And it worked! People rose to the occasion to celebrate. Businesses and schools reopened. Farmers went back to their fields. The economy was rejuvenated. And so every year Mexicans relive the celebration that saved their country from economic collapse. And that is the true story of sinko de mayo . . .
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