Despite the holiday’s popularity in the United States, many don’t know what they’re actually celebrating. While often mistaken in the U.S. to be Mexico’s Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Surprisingly, Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday in Mexico. It is much more popular in the Unites States and has been celebrated by American citizens since the 1860s. The observation of the holiday began as a means of resistance against French rule in Mexico, but today it is observed primarily to celebrate Mexico and its culture.
A NationalToday.com Cinco de Mayo survey of 1,000 revealed that only about 10 percent of Americans realize the meaning of the celebration.
About 39 percent think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, while another 26 percent think it's a celebration of Mexican-American culture. Then there’s the 13 percent who think it's just an excuse to drink.
Despite the misconceptions, 70 percent of Americans said they plan to celebrate. According to the survey, for most, the holiday means celebration by food.
The top five ways Americans plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo are:
1. Eat Mexican food (59 percent)
2. Drink margaritas (32 percent)
3. Celebrate Mexican culture (20 percent)
4. Drink Mexican beer (17 percent)
5. House party (14 percent)
If you’re planning to celebrate, there are local spots that can help you kick off your fiesta right.
• Casa Bravos will $2 a full pitcher of lime margaritas and double quesadillas are $8.50 as part of the regular Saturday specials.
• Casa Fiesta will have lime margarita pitchers for $14 and a bucket of beers for $13. There will also be live music and raffles to help celebrate.