Cinco De Mayo Is A ‘Fake Holiday’ Invented By Beer Companies
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day (that day is September 16, 1810, when Father Hidalgo called for independence from Spain). Cinco de Mayo is not even widely celebrated in Mexico, it’s more of an American holiday historically promoted by US-owned corporate alcohol brands and ‘fast-casual Mexican’ restaurant chains in a massively successful beer-and-margarita sales gimmick that has nothing to do with the culture, history, or autonomy of Latinx people.
Remember this shit? Five years ago today, Trump’s now-deleted Twitter account declared “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!” This fascist ghoul’s marketing dreck is not unlike what we see from the white-owned beer brands and restaurant chains that manufactured the concept of Cinco de Mayo as we know it today.
Two of the internet’s favorite chefs, Sohla El-Waylly and Rick Martinez, are turning off their ovens, taking off their aprons, and joining us to celebrate a #CincoForGood
— Corona USA (@coronaextrausa) April 30, 2021
These days, savvy brands know to at least throw a meaningless but charitable-sounding hashtag on the end of the tweet. #CincoForGood exists as a popular corporate hashtag, yet not one post or blog entry from these companies describes any causes, donation efforts, or resource collection drives this effort is supposedly contributing to. Yet they get great engagement, and “Cinco de Mayo” revenue from these marketing campaigns.
Just a reminder for the people that think that Cinco de mayo is a holiday pic.twitter.com/zeyRT3yS7k
— Sopita 💜 (@SofiTrevino10) May 5, 2021
The real May 5 holiday Mexican holiday is called “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo.” It commemorates a battle that took place more than 40 years after Mexico had already won its independence from Spain. General Ignacio Zaragoza’s watershed underdog victory (over Napoleon’s French army, not the Spanish) served as a national morale boost for the new nation of Mexico. The day is still a state holiday in the Mexican state of Puebla, but is not a Mexican national holiday.
Cinco De Mayo is tomorrow!
Reminder our culture is not a costume. pic.twitter.com/4WzVHFZi9M
— Veronica Martinez (@veronicajazmeen) May 4, 2021
The modern Americanized concept of Drinko de Mayo, and the cultural stereotypes that came with it, came from big alcohol companies who promoted it in the 1980s as a drinking holiday. In his 2012 book El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition, UCLA professor David Hayes-Bautista called Cinco de Mayo a “fake holiday recently invented by beverage companies.”
But it worked. The consumer reporting firm Loop Insights notes that Cinco de Mayo is the biggest American beer sales day of the year. “Consumers have also been recorded to drink more beer on Cinco De Mayo than any other holiday; including the 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day and the Super Bowl Weekend,” the site says. “These numbers skyrocketed on Cinco De Mayo, averaging around 745 million US dollars being spent on light beers and malt liquors alone.”
The lemon harvest in Goleta, CA.
— United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates) May 4, 2021
If you want to celebrate Mexican culture on any given day, that’s great. But also think about the labor that Mexican and Central American people put into the food you’re enjoying, Or donate to a cause like The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), Border Angels, or Project Corazon. Or just patronize Latinx businesses and tip your server.
thinking about all the white people that are going to celebrate cinco de mayo even tho mexicans dont even celebrate that shit pic.twitter.com/5dGYHHiwOX
— 𖤐 (@SANTERlAA) May 5, 2021
But sombreros, fake moustaches, and speaking mock Spanish is just celebrating stereotypes, not Mexican independence or culture.