Happy Cinco de Mayo! The Fifth of May is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, in 1862 when the Mexican army defeated the occupying forces of France. While it is not the date celebrated as "Independence Day" in Mexico (that's in September) it is widely seen as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.
I think it's important to keep in mind that America is a nation of immigrants whose cultural contributions enrich our national character. Those who fear or shun art, music, dress, cuisine or culture of people from other nations are really missing out on something - the multi-faceted wonder of human expression and creativity.
Here in Santa Monica, we enjoyed a performance by the members of Mariachi Alta California - an ensemble of young musicians trained in the musical tradition of classic mariachi.
Typically a mariachi ensemble includes violins, trumpets, and two traditional instruments. One, a guitarrón, - a deep-bodied 6-stringed instrument similar to a bass. Two, a vihuela - a guitar-like instrument with 12 paired strings. Mariachi also includes vocal music - solos and singing in unison. You can see our friend Carlos in the photo below, playing the guitarrón.
All this at a great Oaxacan restaurant, El Texate. Have a margarita, some carnitas tacos, and celebrate!