The misconceptions of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo battle reenactment
People dressed as Zacapoaxtla Indigenous people clash with others playing the part of French soldiers as they reenact The Battle of Puebla as part of Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the Peñon de los Baños neighborhood of Mexico City, Thursday, May 5, 2022. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of an ill-equipped Mexican army over French troops in Puebla on May 5, 1862. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

When someone hears “Cinco de Mayo” they often envision active streets bustling with music, laughter and the pungent aroma of mouthwatering Latino dishes. Although many celebrate the holiday, only a small population understands its cultural importance.

Some individuals believe that the holiday is Mexico’s Independence Day; however, this is not the case. Mexico celebrates Independence Day on September 16, not May 5. Cinco de Mayo marks the Mexican army’s conquest of the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Others think that Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico. Yet, the state of Puebla is the only area that celebrates the holiday. Throughout the rest of the country, it is just another day.

To the north of Mexico, however, Cinco de Mayo is a heavily marketed holiday. Here in the United States, this marketed as an alcohol-friendly holiday with a dash of cultural appropriation.

One group of Latino men living in the U.S. believe that the holiday is pushed by Big Beer to increase their sales of imported brews, such as Modelo and Corona.

Despite these misinterpretations, many Americans still celebrate the holiday, regarding it as. justification to enjoy delicious Mexican cuisines, mariachi bands, and fellowship with friends and family.

However, this type of celebration may appear insensitive to some.

“People don’t celebrate it or give it the respect it deserves,” one of the men said. “You can also observe the holiday without the ponchos and sombreros.”

Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham at 317-762-7846 or email at Follow him on Twitter @NoralParham.