May 3, 2024 - Business

Why Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo more than Mexicans

Dancers dance during a Cinco de Mayo event

Cinco de Mayo celebrations across the country include festivals and parades. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

In the U.S., where it's celebrated with tacos, tequila and margarita specials, Cinco de Mayo is often incorrectly believed to be Mexico's Independence Day.

Reality check: Cinco de Mayo — or, in English, May 5 — marks a Mexican victory over France 50 years after Mexico's independence.

  • Mexico's Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 16.

The big picture: It is a bigger holiday in America than it is in Mexico.

  • "Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate the resilience, culture, and heritage of generations of Mexican Americans," President Biden posted on X last year.

By the numbers: 59% of those celebrating Cinco de Mayo said they planned to purchase alcohol for the day, according to a Numerator survey of more than 5,100 consumers.

  • That's higher than the 53% buying alcohol for New Year's Eve and 44% buying for St. Patrick's Day, the survey found.

When is Cinco de Mayo 2024?

Since May 5 falls on a Sunday this year, some businesses will run weekend promotions.

Cinco de Mayo history facts

Flashback: Cinco de Mayo marks the anniversary of the May 5, 1862 Battle of Puebla and the victory by Mexican troops over French troops.

  • David Hayes-Bautista, author of "El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition," said for years Latinos celebrated the holiday with parades of people dressed in Civil War uniforms and gave speeches about how the Battle of Puebla was part of a larger struggle for the abolition of slavery in the U.S., Axios' Russ Contreras explains.

Where is Cinco de Mayo celebrated?

In Mexico, the day is mainly celebrated in the Mexican state of Puebla, where the 1862 battle took place.

  • The anniversary of the victory is known as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, which translates in English to "The Day of the Battle of Puebla."
  • It is not observed throughout Mexico and is not a federal holiday.

How the U.S. celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Between the lines: Cinco de Mayo started catching on in the U.S. in the 1960s, when Mexican American activists raised their profile, per History.com.

  • By the 1980s, corporations and beer companies had co-opted the day to reach the growing U.S. Hispanic market.
  • There is typically a pay-per-view boxing match involving a famous Mexican or Mexican American boxer around the Cinco de Mayo weekend each year.
  • Cities across the U.S. also hold events for Cinco de Mayo and some sports teams like the Albuquerque Isotopes, a New Mexico Minor League Baseball team, hold special holiday games.

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