Cinco de Mayo, Not Drinko de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, for many Americans, is a time to drink and make merry.

Controversy aside, just what is Cinco de Mayo? For starters, it is not, as some revelers think, Mexico’s equivalent to the American Fourth of July.

Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, commemorates the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican War (1861-1867.) It is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico.

Many people in the United States don’t know the reason behind Cinco de Mayo.  For many corporations, it’s a good way to make money.

For a lot of Mexican restaurants it’s a perfect way to advertise. For Cinco de Mayo most Mexican restaurants will host mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, traditional authentic Mexican food and, of course, beer.

When asked what she thinks Cinco de Mayo is for, EvCC Student Michael Barene replied, “isn’t it Mexican Independence Day?” Many people do not look into the history of Cinco de Mayo because they can’t relate it to their heritage. “It doesn’t mean anything to me,” Barene said.

Roger Anderson replied, “I think it’s a war between the French and the Mexicans but I’m not sure of the details.”

Today, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated widely in the United States with parties and parades. But it is almost completely ignored in Mexico. Only a few states, including Puebla, recognize it.

Beer and liquor companies have seized the holiday as an opportunity to sell their products. According to John Hibberd, the store manager of BevMo! in Everett, Halloween, New Years and the Fourth of July are the highest selling holidays in terms of alcoholic beverages. Cinco de Mayo notes an increase in alcoholic beverage purchases, but not as much as the previous listed.

“The Americans celebrate the most, they use it as an excuse to go to a Mexican restaurant or to another person’s house and have a big party,” said Anderson.

Felipe Paizanni Guillen, a student from Guadalajara, Jalisco said, “I don’t celebrate it, but I do keep in mind what happened that day.”

Cinco de Mayo should be a day where we commemorate the lives of those who died at the battle of Puebla, and not be used as a day to party.

Mexico’s real independence day, Grito de Dolores, is celebrated in Mexico on Friday, Sept. 16. According to, the day is celebrated with feasts, parties, parades and more. There are flags all over, and celebrations that are similar to American Independence Day festivities.

In other words, Cinco de Mayo is more of an American holiday. The real Independence day isn’t for another four months.