In the United States, Cinco de Mayo, which lands on May 5 every year, is a day to celebrate Mexican food, culture, and traditions. Of course, it’s also a great excuse to enjoy a margarita, and a big plate of nachos, too.
However, many who celebrate in the U.S. assume, incorrectly, that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. But, it’s not. Cinco de Mayo is a day for Mexican-Americans to show pride in their unique heritage.
In 1862, during the time of the Battle of Puebla in Mexico, the United States was engaged in its own Civil War. The French presence in Mexico was a strategic move. By gaining a toehold in Mexico, the French could then support the Confederate Army. The defeat of the French during the Battle of Puebla was not definitive, but it helped stave them off so that U.S. Union forces could advance. Thus, Cinco de Mayo can be seen as a turning point in the U.S. Civil War.
In the 1980s, Cinco de Mayo became commercialized on a wide scale, as alcohol companies used the holiday to gain new consumers. That, combined with a shifting American demographic that included an increase of young Latinos, Cinco de Mayo became a way for companies to make big bucks surrounding this holiday. Today, while the date is promoted as a day to celebrate Mexican food, culture, and tradition, many without Mexican heritage use it as an excuse to throw a party and drink. S
So when is Mexican Independence Day
It might have more sense to celebrate Mexican culture in the United States on September the 16th, which happens to be the real Mexican Independence Day and the day when all Mexicans show their national pride. Some say that saying “Cinco de Mayo” is so much easier for non-Spanish-speaking individuals than saying “Dieciséis de Septiembre.” Also as some marketers suggest, creating a festivity on May was more attractive for alcohol companies as they lack during May a big day for sales.