Patt Morrison for May 4, 2012

Why do Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo more than Mexicans do?

Cinco De Mayo Celebrated In Los Angeles

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Samantha Romero with Mexica Ballet Folclorico performs during Cinco De Mayo festivities on May 5, 2011 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, California. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the 1862 Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla.

Will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Dos Equis XX, store bought guacamole and the most interesting man in the world? Or will you ‘find your beach’ with a nice cold Corona?

Either way you’re probably mistaken about the actual meaning of Cinco de Mayo. The holiday is not even Mexico’s Independence Day - that takes place in September. In truth, Cinco de Mayo commemorates a relatively small Mexican military victory over the French in 1862 that is not widely celebrated outside of the state of the Mexican state of Puebla. But in modern times the American food and beverage industry seems have co-opted the holiday as yet another excuse to sell beer and nachos.


What does Cinco de Mayo mean to you? Will you celebrate the holiday like an inebriated gringo or salute the Mexican army’s prowess on the field of battle?


Frank X. Moraga, editor, publisher,, a website providing information for and about the Latino community in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties

David Hayes-Bautista, director, Center for the study of Latino Health & Culture; author, "El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition"

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