The Truth about Cinco De Mayo

Jenna Miller, Associate Editor

Ah, Cinco de Mayo. The day we celebrate every year to celebrate Mexican heritage – but why? Many people don’t realize that Cinco De Mayo, while it may seem like a Mexican holiday and a celebration of another culture, is actually as American as Doritos. The holiday in itself is, in Mexico, not of as great of an importance as it is here.

“But why? Isn’t it basically like Mexico’s Independence Day?”

That’s where you’re wrong. If you want to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, you’d have to wait until September 16. Cinco De Mayo is not a major national holiday in Mexico; only one region in Mexico celebrates it. May 5 is only significant to those living in and around the city of Puebla, as it commemorates the Mexicans’ win of the Battle of Puebla against the French. However, in the United States, Cinco De Mayo has evolved into a holiday mostly for Mexican-Americans to celebrate their culture. The holiday as us Americans know it today has similar origins to that of Saint Patrick’s Day; Mexican immigrants in the late 19th century, when the battle of Puebla was held, begun their celebration of the holiday as a commemoration to their homeland when they heard the news of the Mexicans winning the battle.

That doesn’t mean that if you aren’t of Mexican descent, you can’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo, though. You can still go to parties, listen to Mexican music, and enjoy delicious Mexican food – but also take the time to maybe learn more about the culture and appreciate it for yourself. However, be careful and make sure to celebrate respectfully – dressing up in a sombrero, poncho, and/or fake mustache is stereotypical and disrespectful.