As you pick up your fake sombrero’s and piñata’s from Party City this weekend…and start mixing your Margarita’s and guacamole (Americans consume up to 81 million avocados on Cinco de Mayo!) how about taking a minute to ponder on what you actually know about the holiday you’re celebrating?
It’s a big holiday in Mexico right? Wrong. It’s Mexico’s Independence day right? Wrong again.
Whilst celebrating all cultures is a beautiful thing, it’s not really so beautiful when we only focus on the tacky, commercial side and never dig deeper to discover the true meaning behind global celebrations.
So, here are a few interesting and slightly weird things you may not know about Cinco de Mayo:
1. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day
Mexican Independence day is four months away, on September 16. Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Independence in Puebla on May 5, 1862.
2. Cinco de Mayo is a bigger deal in the United States
In Mexico, the biggest celebrations are limited to the capital Mexico City and instead of bar crawls the country holds political speeches and battle reenactments. In fact, the world's largest celebration takes place in Los Angeles - the Fiesta Broadway. Cities like New York, Denver and Houston also throw big parties in honor of the day.
3. It didn't become popular because of the cheap Corona's
The holiday really began to gain steam around the 50’s and 60’s. It was recognized as a national holiday to improve relations and communication with Latin American countries under President Roosevelt’s ‘Good Neighbor Policy’.
4. If you think celebrating with tequila shots is weird...
...in Chandler, Arizona they mark the day by racing Chihuahuas! And in Vancouver they have an annual Cinco de Mayo ‘skydiving boogie’ with aerial acrobatics and an air show.
5. Finally, a fun drinking fact for you! The holiday's official drink - Margarita's - is Spanish for 'Daisy'...not 'Margaret'!
But, having said all this, I never miss an excuse to have a drink (or two)…but at least when I raise my tequila shot this weekend I’ll know what I’m toasting to!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Life’s too short not to celebrate it
Culture-vulture, passionate event planner, devoted wife and mother of two. Oh yes...and a witty Brit who loves palm trees and planning parties!!!.