How the Mexican Celebration Became a Distinctly American Holiday for Hispanic Immigrants
Cinco de Mayo is big business here in the United States, which is funny considering that it is associated with a Mexican war victory. There is a lot of confusion around the holiday’s roots, as it has, like many ethnic-rooted holidays in the United States, become an occasion for young people to drink and make merry.
While merriment is always good for business and while Hispanic businesses can take advantage of the American love of Cinco de Mayo, it is also important to have an understanding of the holiday’s history as well as its meaning not just for Mexicans but for all American citizens.
Cinco de Mayo: An American Immigrant Tradition
Some people think that Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican Independence Day, but that is not true. Cinco de Mayo actually started as a celebration by Mexican-American immigrants. The day commemorates an unlikely battle victory over the French army on May 5, 1862.
The Mexican government, having money troubles after various civil wars, decided to stop making debt payments to European nations. The French decided to use the opportunity to attempt to create a Latin empire in Mexico. However, they were beaten back by the Mexicans, representing a clear victory for self-determination and freedom.
The day was celebrated by Mexican-Americans as a mirror to the U.S. War of Independence and served as a point of solidarity for peoples on the North American continent who loved freedom and democracy. For this reason, Cinco de Mayo is more than just a Mexican tradition; it is an immigrant tradition, celebrating the freedoms we cherish and value as well as the fighting spirit to keep those freedoms alive.
Cinco de Mayo Today
The exact history of Cinco de Mayo is often forgotten in the United States, where it is celebrated by people with Mexican heritage and everyone else alike. Cities and towns across the country celebrate the day by decorating with symbols of Mexican heritage, colors and cultural performances. It is a day to show the joy we take in our Mexican brothers and sisters, who make up 10.8 percent of the overall United States population as well as 64.6 percent of the Hispanic/Latino population, according to the U.S. Census.
Hispanic Business Opportunities
Cinco de Mayo represents a major opportunity for Hispanic business owners to take advantage of the celebratory spirit in the air. If you run a food establishment, you could drive business by serving Mexican food like tortillas and salsa, burritos, and tacos.
Hispanic entrepreneurs have taken advantage of Cinco de Mayo in big ways. Small-brand tequila tastings are one very popular way to get people excited about Mexican culture. Mexican artwork by luminaries like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is also popular around this time of year. Do not forget the margaritas or Mexican beers like Corona, Dos Equis, Tecate and Modelo. Party decorations are also huge, and costume supplies like hats, flowing skirts, cowboy boots and ponchos.
Bright colors are a huge part of the day, as is general excitement and merriment. If you live in an area with a large Mexican population, there is a good chance that there will be a parade or public celebration of some sort involving Mexican music like mariachi, marimba, ranchera and more. If you keep a blog or you are otherwise involved in SEO and Internet marketing, there is a big spike around Cinco de Mayo in keywords related to the holiday.
If you are Mexican, chances are you grew up celebrating Cinco de Mayo as a day to showcase your roots and family traditions. Even if you are not Mexican, Cinco de Mayo is uniquely American, and it is a day to unwind, let loose and be free. Hispanic business owners can appreciate this American spirit.
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