Why Americans shouldn’t celebrate Cinco De Mayo

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Milenne Quinonez, Columnist

Cinco de Mayo is a day many Americans confuse with Mexico’s Independence Day, which is September 16. Although this is not really an issue that needs to be addressed, here are some of the reasons why I don’t think Americans should celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and here are the things to do instead if you want to celebrate Mexico.

The original celebration of Cinco de Mayo honors the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. 

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “the celebration of Cinco de Mayo became among Mexican immigrants a way of encouraging pride in their Mexican heritage.” 

The holiday has little to no significance to people in Mexico, the only celebration of Cinco de Mayo that happens in Mexico is in the state of Puebla, which includes military parades, recreations of the battle of Puebla and other traditional events. If people in Mexico don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo, why do Americans? 

To Americans, May 5 has always been an excuse to drink and put on a sombrero and eat Americanized Mexican food, which was the exact marking tactic that was used in the 1980’s and how 5 de Mayo gained its popularity. 

According to The Conversation a new site talking about the cultural aspects of Cinco de Mayo, “The widespread commercialization of Cinco de Mayo occurred during the 1980s and 1990s. Beer companies, in particular, targeted Mexican Americans, exhorting them to celebrate their heritage with Coronas, Bud Lights and Dos Equis.” 

Again, not only is Cinco de Mayo not celebrated for the battle of Puebla, but it is used as an advertisement for American beer companies to cash in and restaurants to sell you on $5 margarita specials with terrible names like “5 de drinko,” which is not even how you say drink in Spanish. 

The holiday to Americans also seems to attract them to make awful Americanized Mexican food, like a taco bowl with the bowl being a toasted tortilla, and nachos made with ground beef which is again not something an actual Mexican dish would include and not at all authentic. Authentic dishes range from corn tortilla tacos (not the hard shell ones), tamales, pozole and menudo. 

Eating Americanized Mexican food is not the problem but if you are going to try to celebrate or observe any Mexican holiday the least you can do is eat authentic Mexican food while supporting local Mexican businesses.

For those that do enjoy celebrating Cinco de Mayo, just understand the significance of the holiday and make sure to understand it is not Mexico’s Independence Day. If you really want to show Mexico your support, you are better off celebrating on September 16 because that day is an actual celebration – when Mexico gained its independence from Spain.