Key Takeaways
  • Americans spend billions of dollars on alcohol for Cinco de Mayo each year.
  • Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of Mexico winning its sovereignty in The Battle of Puebla.
  • Cinco de Mayo is a bigger holiday in the U.S. than in Mexico; Americans celebrate with a day of drinking, mainly margaritas.
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Surprisingly enough, most Americans view Cinco de Mayo on two fronts. The first is a day to get wasted off of margaritas. The second is a day of celebration based on when Mexico became a free country, and some studies back up this theory. According to data from YouGov Direct, 4 in 10 people believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of independence. 

 

While number one has become an American tradition for the celebration of Cinco de Mayo, number two is a wide misconception. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican independence day. Instead, it is a day of remembrance celebrating Mexico's victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
 

What is Cinco De Mayo?

 

Benito Juarez, the 26th president of Mexico, was being pressured by Britain and France to pay reparations for damages the country had caused the European nation in its prior years. However, Juarez refused payment to foreign nations, thus forcing France, Britain, and Spain to end their ongoing relationship with Mexico. Soon after payment refusal, France, Britain, and Spain sent their troops to Veracruz to demand payment in person.

 

The Battle of Puebla was soon declared after the European government believed they could force Mexico to surrender their country to them. The European government was determined to take over Mexico and make it their own as payment for what they felt they were owed.

French intervention in Mexico: assault to Puebla prison by French army soldiers. 

Created by Gaildrau, published on L'Illustration, Paris, 1863
 


The battle went on from sun up to sundown, but France decided to withdraw its troops soon after. Many people lost their lives in the Battle of Puebla, but the Mexican army scored a victory in the war over France even though they were outnumbered. France deployed 6,000 troops versus Mexico's 2,000 to 5,000 troops. The strength and courage that the Mexican army displayed even though they were outnumbered are what residents of Mexico hold on to on the day of celebration–Cinco de Mayo. 
 

How the U.S. Economy Benefits from Cinco De Mayo 

 

It is no secret that the United States cashes in on Cinco de Mayo. Restaurants across the nation run specials on alcohol and Mexican dishes, and beer companies spend millions of dollars on advertising before the big day to promote higher alcohol sales.

 

The history of promoting Cinco De Mayo goes back to 1989, when Corona and Modelo partnered to create a marketing campaign geared toward celebrating the popular day. The campaign was a huge hit. Since then, these companies and others have spent millions on advertising to promote sales every year.

According to a 2013 Nielsen Survey, Americans bought more than $600 million worth of beer on Cinco de Mayo. Beer companies, specifically Modelo and Corona, knew that they were on to something when alcohol sales for Cinco de Mayo surpassed the amount that Americans spent on alcohol on St. Patrick's Day and the Super Bowl alone. Even more so, studies show that sales increase rapidly when the holiday falls on the weekend.

 

Thanks to marketing, Cinco De Mayo generates millions of dollars in not only alcohol sales in the United States but also avocado. (Avocados are used to make guacamole, and it plays a huge role in Mexican heritage.) 

 

In 2016, when Corona spent $2 million on TV spots to advertise Cinco de Mayo, avocado sales soared through the roof as well. As a result, Americans reportedly spent $198.2 million on avocados. 

 

The Money Wrap-Up
 

Drinking and partying on Cinco de Mayo does not accurately depict the true meaning behind the holiday. Unfortunately, specifically in America, marketing has rebranded its true meaning, leading many Americans to know Cinco de Mayo as a day about consumers spending millions of dollars on alcohol and eating Mexican food. 

 

However, in Mexico, it is taken more seriously and is about showing their cultural strengths. For the residents of Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is not about alcohol consumption but about remembering the battle that was fought for their country to gain sovereignty. Therefore, their primary focus is spending time with loved ones and celebrating Mexican heritage and culture.



 

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