Alongside burritos and liquid nacho cheese, Cinco de Mayo celebrations are virtually non-existent in Mexico. Our Independence Day is, in fact, September 16th, something very few Americans know.
May 5th, otherwise known as "Cinco de Mayo" is a holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla which took place in 1862. There, in an unexpected turn of events, 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated a French Army of 8,000 soldiers in the city of Puebla. The French, seeking to conquer the country, invaded the Port of Veracruz and sought passage through the neighboring state of Puebla on their way to Mexico City. There, however, they were intercepted.
The victory in Puebla marked a historic win for Mexico, a moment of unity and patriotism for the nation. Nowadays, in Mexico, it is observed as a relatively minor holiday with few celebrations taking place predominately in the city of Puebla.
It is important to reflect on why this holiday, one that has no relation to the U.S., has become such a major event.
In the 1980's major beer companies, mainly Modelo and Corona, sought to increase their sales here in the U.S. by creating a massive nationwide campaign, and they used Cinco de Mayo as their selling point, hyping the holiday up.
On this day, Americans drunkenly tread the line between honoring their neighbor's culture and appropriating it.
Based on reports from Google, some genuine questions people have asked the search engine are; Does Cinco de Mayo have anything to do with Mayonnaise (wtf?); When is Cinco de Mayo?; Is Cinco de Mayo racist?
The thought of celebrating another culture is nice, but when there's no actual intent to learn about the history of the holiday, you enter ignorant territory.
Generally speaking, Mexicans have a really thick skin when it comes to cultural appropriation and jokes about our people. Most things other people might find offensive are amusing to us, we constantly make jokes that go #toofar and are #toosoon.
As a Mexican, I write this not because I am offended, more so because I so wish America took more time to get to know the vast and rich culture Mexico has to offer; our real holidays, our real beaches and mountains (not just Cancun, which might as well be an American territory), our real people. We are your neighboring country, half of the United States used to be Mexico– it surprises me how few Americans know that. It would be so beautiful to see more solidarity in the form of genuine interest for who we are, not the stereotypes that have been prepackaged for your consumption and entertainment. •
General perception of Mexico in the USA: