McCULLOUGH: The party melting pot

Americans are nothing if not resourceful — especially when it comes to drinking and holidays.

We have the old standards as excuses for getting smashed, of course: Memorial Day at the lake, Halloween costume parties, the company Christmas party and the big one, New Year's Eve, more appropriately known as Amateur Night. And if you're a responsible adult with a designated driver, I say go for it. Everyone needs to cut loose occasionally.

But Americans like to cut loose a lot, and thus, we never met a holiday we wouldn't appropriate for ourselves in the name of downing a few.

This week, of course, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo, which most Americans think is Spanish for "drink margaritas until dancing on the table wearing a sombrero seems like a cool idea."

In reality, Cinco de Mayo stands for the fifth of May and marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, in which the Mexican army defeated the French in 1862. I guess kicking the backsides of the French at anything is cause for celebration. Mexico pays it little attention, though — except in Puebla, of course.

But here? Americans party like it's 1862. Bring on the burritos. Bring on the live remote from the rock station. Bring on the house band. And of course, bring on the tequila.

I wonder how many of these partiers want nothing more than for Mexicans to pack up and leave the other 364 days of the year. But on Cinco de Mayo, everybody's a Mexican — as long as you keep the Corona and lime coming.

It's sort of like St. Patrick's Day. Being of Irish descent, I'm always torn between being proud and feeling a little put off by all the goofballs in green derby hats drinking green beer, who I guarantee know nothing of St. Patrick and probably couldn't find Ireland on a map unless it was a stop on a pub crawl.

Then I remember that I've never been to Ireland, am not Catholic and thus not all that knowledgeable about any saint, and suddenly my indignation seems as silly as all the faux O'Briens bellying up to down pints of Guinness.

But in the end, it's all just good fun I guess. So knowing that Americans will pretend to be pretty much anything for one day, as long as it involves a party, I give you Nate's List of Totally Partyable Foreign Holidays:

• Canada Day (July 1): Lift that Molson mug up high and get ready to watch the 78th round of the hockey playoffs as you celebrate the birth of our neighbors to the north.

• Carnival (47 days before Easter): You'll have to brush up on your samba and break out your strangest head dress for this Brazilian party. And ladies, any outfit that weighs more than an eighth of a gram is problem too stuffy for Carnival. You have to let it all hang out.

• Melbourne Cup Day (First Tuesday in November): Get a good grip on that Foster's oil can, order something off the barbie and celebrate Australia's equivalent of the Kentucky Derby.

• German Unity Day (Oct. 3): Get a big bowl of sauerkraut and wash it down with a Lowenbrau while you mark the anniversary of the reunification of the bad guys in two world wars.

• The Emperor's Birthday (Dec. 23): Need something to do on Christmas Eve, uh, eve? Get a bottle of sake and toast the Japanese monarch.

I could go on, but why should I do all the work for you America. After all, there are 193 countries.

And they all have holidays.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.