CINCO DE MAYO:
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations.
Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans (such as Juárez) over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla.
Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, a popular misconception. Instead, it commemorates a single battle. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza.
Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely victory occurred, although other parts of the country also take part in the celebration.
Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla, and other festive events. For many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks, and stores remain open.
Cheyenne, WY-based Taco John’s – which has nearly 400 locations in 23 states – put its legal stamp on “Taco Tuesday” 30 years ago and has since zinged cease-and-desist letters at offenders far and wide.
Like “raisin bran,” ″escalator,” ″nylon” and other formerly trademarked products, “Taco Tuesday” has suffered from “genericide” – it has become too well-known to continue to be identified with a particular company, said Seattle-based attorney Michael Atkins. The term even made a fairly significant appearance in “The Lego Movie,” a 2014 kid film based on the popular plastic toys.
“It’s kind of asinine to me think that one particular taco seller, or taco maker, would have monopoly rights over ‘Taco Tuesday,’” Atkins said. “It has become such a common phrase that it no longer points to Taco John’s and therefore Taco John’s doesn’t have the right to tell anybody to stop using that.”
Taco John’s offers Americanized Mexican fare advertised as “West-Mex.” Mildly spiced, fried potato nuggets called Potato Oles – dipped in salsa or nacho cheese or packed in a burrito – are a signature item.
The company trademarked “Taco Tuesday” in 1989, claiming a Minnesota franchisee began using “Taco Twosday” to advertise two tacos for 99 cents in the early 1980s. The trademark applies in every state but New Jersey, where another restaurant already had secured the right to “Taco Tuesday.”
~Excepts from Mead Gruver’s Associated Press article for USA Today click here for the whole article
Would you like to meet up and eat a Taco?
Graphic: Nacho Diaz