Welcome to our calendar of events taking place in the World Of Wine And Adjacent Amusements, featuring wine, spirits, beer, food, destinations and more. Planning a trip to wine country and looking for something fun to do? Our goal is to provide a comprehensive source for interesting events in every wine producing region.
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Cinco De Mayo is celebrated in Mexico each May 5th to honor the defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. A civil war was taking place at the time, fought between Mexican and French forces on one side and other Mexican forces loosely supported by the United States on the other. Although French forces were defeated at Puebla, they held overwhelming military superiority across the country and continued to control Mexico until 1866, when Napolean III withdrew French forces from the country.
Cinco De Mayo was initially celebrated primarily with local and regional events in Mexico and the United States. In the 1980’s, producers of beer, wine, and tequila realized they could boost Cinco De Mayo sales by promoting the holiday. They launched effective ad campaigns and sales skyrocketed.
Sometimes Cinco De Mayo is confused with Mexican Independence Day. Independence Day, celebrated annually on September 16th, marks the beginning of the war that led to independence from Spain fifty years before the Battle Of Puebla. Of the two holidays, Mexican Independence Day is considered the most important and widely celebrated in Mexico, while Cinco De Mayo is the most popular Mexican holiday celebrated in the United States.
Bastille Day is the national day of unity in France that commemorates an important event in the French Revolution. On July 14, 1789, French citizens supported by soldiers who broke from the French government assaulted the Bastille prison. The jail held only seven prisoners at the time, none considered of significant political importance. The Bastille was targeted because it was believed to hold a stockpile of ammunition and gunpowder. At first, the garrison resisted and some accounts indicate that about 200 attackers and one guard were killed in initial fighting. Seeing that the Bastille was surrounded with little chance of relief, its commander eventually opened the gates to surrender the fortress. Fighting broke out again later due to a misunderstanding and several were killed on each side, including the commander. Eventually the prison was captured completely.
The following month, a revolutionary council proposed the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen), a document similar to the United State’s Declaration Of Independence. The initial draft was created in consultation with American Thomas Jefferson, a friend of one of the authors. This document expressed the rights of the citizen, ended feudalism, and created the foundation for a French constitutional republic.
Today, Bastille Day is celebrated throughout France. The oldest and largest annual military parade in Europe takes place in Paris, with French and allied troops marching down the Champs-Élysées. Throughout the world, communities hold Bastille Day celebrations with French food, wine, cultural activities, and sporting events.
Bastille Day is celebrated annually on July 14th.
Ferragosto is an Italian holiday that celebrates harvest and recognizes the contribution of agricultural workers. The general concept dates back to Roman emperor Augustus, who in 13BC held festivals and periods of rest after all the crops were in. Over time, the period of rest was combined with other festivals of political, social and religious nature, including the Catholic celebration of the Assumption Of Mary (Mary’s accension to heaven upon her death) on the same date.
Ferragosto celebrations take place throughout Italy and can vary greatly in nature. Some focus on the religious aspects of the day, others on enjoyment of food, wine and sports. The famous Palio di Siena horse race takes place in downtown Siena the following day (also on July 2nd).
In the late 1920’s, the Italian government encouraged travel and vacations in the days surrounding Ferragosto. It subsidized train and bus travel to make it easier for workers to visit different parts of the country. It’s common to see restaurants and other businesses closed for a few days during this time.
Around the world on August 15th each year, it’s common to hear Buon Ferragosto! as everyone embraces the spirit of the holiday.