Cinco de Mayo, “the 5th of May”, is a holiday with a significant following in the United States. But despite its popularity, there are many misconceptions about the occasion. So on this episode of myth busters, we’ll be debunking the two most prominent myths of Cinco De Mayo.
Let’s dive in!
Myth #1: Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day
Mexico does indeed have its own Independence Day. However, it’s not during Cinco de Mayo. Instead, Mexico's Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th, marking the start of the Mexican War of Independence against Spain in 1810.
Cinco de Mayo also celebrates the Mexican army’s victory, but this one is about the Battle of Puebla (against French Forces) on May 5, 1862. Given the nature of these two holidays, it’s understandable why this misconception exists. But alas, it remains a myth!
Myth #2: Cinco de Mayo is a Major Holiday in Mexico
So we’ve established that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day and that it commemorates a battle in a specific region of the country. Despite this, many believe Cinco de Mayo is still an important Mexican holiday. After all, it’s such a well-known day in America.
But Cinco de Mayo is only explicitly celebrated in Puebla, where the battle occurred. It is celebrated with military parades, reenactments, and other civic events. In other parts of Mexico, the holiday is not typically observed.
Mexican Woman Dressed Up for Dia de los Muertos
Major Holidays in Mexico
If you’re interested in learning more about major Mexican holidays to celebrate with your Latin loved ones, here are some excellent ones:
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead): Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, this holiday honors deceased loved ones with elaborate altars, parades, and other traditions.
Christmas: Celebrated on December 25th, Christmas is a religious holiday marked by traditional Catholic masses, feasts, and gift-giving.
Independence Day: Celebrated on September 16th, this holiday commemorates Mexico's declaration of independence from Spain in 1810 with parades, music, and fireworks.
Carnaval: Celebrated in the weeks leading up to Lent, Carnaval is a festive season that is marked by parades, music, and dancing.
But what are we to do with Cinco de Mayo?
In short, don’t stop celebrating it!
While it may not be a big deal in Mexico, it has taken on a life of its own in the United States. And that's something to celebrate! For many Mexican-Americans, this is an important holiday for them to celebrate their heritage, history, and identity. It’s a reminder to be proud of who they are and where they come from.
For those without Mexican ancestry, this holiday is an opportunity to support small businesses. Want to go out for Mexican food that day? Look up authentic Mexican cuisine! This is an excellent way to give back to the community whose holiday you enjoy celebrating.
As more people learn about Cinco de Mayo’s origins, it also encourages a shift in any assumptions or narratives that view Latinos as oppressed or less powerful. The origins of this holiday showcase an incredible time in history when the Mexican people appointed clever commanders to outsmart what was, at the time, the strongest army in the world (Napoleon III's French army!). It's a powerful testimony to the Mexican people's determination, bravery, and ingenuity.
By celebrating Cinco de Mayo, we can honor Mexico’s legacy and contributions to history, as well as their vibrant culture and traditions. So let's embrace the spirit of Cinco de Mayo and come together in celebration, appreciation, and respect for our diverse and dynamic world.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
P.S. If you’re a fan of Mexican food and culture, you might consider checking out our Galicia collection for designs that are exceptionally complimentary to Mexican design.