Easter has passed, and the next important holiday on most Americans’ calendar is Cinco de Mayo, but why?
Cinco de Mayo does not celebrate Mexican Independence Day; that’s Sept. 16. The holiday commemorates the U.S. Civil War Battle of Puebla in 1862. The battle was an important turning point in the war, because the Mexican army held off the French. Mexicans used the victory as a rallying cry against foreign invasion, and it soon became a national holiday.
Since we have the origins of Cinco de Mayo crystal clear, it must be as big of a deal in Mexico as it is in the U.S. – wrong.
Cinco de Mayo in Mexico is a subtle holiday. Major military reenactments, parades and parties only happen in Puebla. So why do Americans care so much?
It’s because of manipulative marketing campaigns.
The American beer industry commercialized Cinco de Mayo in the 1980s. It is used to jump-start the summer beer-selling season.
After being culturally appropriated and misrepresented in media, Cinco de Mayo is a day for Americans to “learn” about Mexican culture while washing down their favorite, spicy, Mexican meals with beer instead of milk.
I’m all for learning about different cultures, especially the culture of our distant neighbors, however, let’s do it right for a change. It’s a pity to deduce a rich culture, that’s been in America longer than Anglo-Saxons, to one day of tasty foods and beverages.