Mexican food.

The Cinco de Mayo Myth

Many restaurants and bars promote Cinco de Mayo to help bolster food and alcohol sales in the United States. Ohio is no exception. Photo by Vinícius Caricatte from Pexels.

Cinco de Mayo is a cultural phenomenon in the United States, but many people celebrating the holiday don’t know a lot about it. Here are some fast facts about Cinco de Mayo:

  • Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken as Mexico’s Independence Day. In reality, the holiday celebrates a failed French invasion into the city of Puebla. Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. 
  • On May 5, 1862, French armies attacked the city of Puebla de Los Angeles. The all-day battle ended with the French retreating after losing almost 500 soldiers. The Mexican armies lost fewer than 100 men. Strategically, the win was not that significant. French forces didn’t leave until 1867 after years of war. 
  • Cinco de Mayo was commercialized by alcohol distributors trying to tap into Hispanic demographics. Its beer sales are on par with that of St. Patrick’s Day and the Super Bowl.

Despite its popularity in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo remains a minor holiday in Mexico. The holiday is virtually ignored throughout Mexico. It is celebrated more often in the U.S. and Canada.

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