Cinco de Mayo (which simply means “fifth of May”, in Spanish) is a celebration of the day the Mexico defeated France in the Battle of Puebla, back in 1862. The holiday has been celebrated since May 5, 1863 but, contrary to popular belief, this day is not really a major event in Mexico. The state of Puebla celebrates, of course, but other than that, it’s not really acknowledged in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is a widely celebrated in the United States, however.
In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is a day for celebrating Mexican heritage and people of all ethnicities participate, much like celebrating St. Patrick’s Day even if you are not Irish. Cinco de Mayo is even celebrated at the White House. Typical celebrations include folkloric dances of Mexico, mariachi music, and Mexican food.
Cinco de Mayo gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1980s, when beer companies and other vendors began promoting it. So, tonight, when you are having a few Mexican beers, tequila shots, or margaritas, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo and Mexico’s rich heritage, raise your glass and make a toast to Corona beer and the other companies that took this obscure holiday out of mothballs and brought it into the mainstream. After all, we can never have too many holidays that encourage drinking and having a good time.