May 3, 2024 - News

Why Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo

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

Cinco de Mayo celebrations 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 Sept. 16.

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

  • 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 numbers: 59% of those celebrating Cinco de Mayo said they plan 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.

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