Top 5 Cinco De Mayo Myths

Written by Michael Wynands Sure, everyone loves a good party. But if you’re going to celebrate something… make sure you do it right. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the Top 5 Cinco De Mayo Myths. This historical holiday has acquired the reputation of being a serious fiesta, but in their hurry to get in on the fun, many people have skimmed over the finer details. Come along as we debunk some of the most common misconceptions so you can do the holiday justice.
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Written by Michael Wynands

Top 5 Cinco De Mayo Myths


Sure, everyone loves a good party. But if you’re going to celebrate something… make sure you do it right.

Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the Top 5 Cinco De Mayo Myths.

This historical holiday has acquired the reputation of being a serious fiesta, but in their hurry to get in on the fun, many people have skimmed over the finer details. Come along as we debunk some of the most common misconceptions so you can do the holiday justice.

#5: It's Mexican Independence Day


Mexico does have an Independence Day, but it’s celebrated each year on September 16th. Whereas Cinco de Mayo, which translates to “Fifth of May,” takes place on (surprise surprise)... May fifth. Cinco de Mayo is actually held in honor of the 1862 Battle of Puebla, where the Mexican Army managed to defeat the French, who, by some estimates, outnumbered the Mexican forces either 2 to 1 or 3 to 1. Although the French ultimately proved victorious in their Mexican campaign, the Battle of Puebla became a symbol of Mexican unity and identity. In more recent decades, the holiday has evolved, at least in the United States, into a more general celebration of Mexican-American identity.

#4: Everyone Wears Sombreros


Now that we have some history under our belts, we can start to get into the many false assumptions people make about Cinco de Mayo. While one commonly hears that “everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day”, the same logic should not be applied to this Mexican holiday. Unfortunately, many people, not of Mexican descent, seem to have missed that memo, and celebrate the holiday by appropriating Mexican culture in the form of sombreros or other stereotypically apparel. People without Mexican heritage CAN partake in the celebrations, but if they do, it should be done respectfully. Celebrate the culture, don’t parody it. At the Battle of Puebla, people weren’t wearing sombreros, and you shouldn’t either.

#3: Tequila is the Drink of Choice


The holiday has earned a hard-partying reputation, and the alcohol does tend to flow relatively freely. But isn’t that the case with many holidays? The aforementioned St. Patty’s Day, the Fourth of July, New Year’s - whenever and wherever people are celebrating, alcohol tends to be consumed in excess. Despite what you may have heard however, margaritas were not invited specifically for Cinco de Mayo. In fact, tequila, despite being intertwined with Mexican culture, isn’t even the right beverage to be drinking. Arguably the most traditional beverage associated with Cinco de Mayo, particularly in Puebla City, is agua fresca. And guess what? It’s not even alcoholic!

#2: Tacos Are the Dish of Choice


We’ve covered the clothing and the drinks. So naturally… we’ve got to address the culinary elephant in the room as well. We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again - Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, but that doesn’t mean you can simply consume the most common mexican dishes and call it “celebrating”. Yes, in America, on Cinco de Mayo, a lot of tacos are going to get consumed. There’s nothing inherently wrong with eating them, it’s just got nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo explicitly. If you’re actually looking to celebrate the occasion, try a dish that’s actually traditional to Puebla City, like mole poblano, chalupas or chiles en Nogada.

#1: It is Celebrated Throughout Mexico


Admittedly, this one catches a lot of people off-guard. But unlike Mexican Independence Day, which is the biggest holiday in Mexico and is celebrated across the nation, Cinco de Mayo recognizes a very regionally-specific event. And while the Battle of Puebla was historically significant to the country, nowadays it is an official holiday only in that region. Unsurprisingly, Puebla City continues to host the largest and most significant Cinco de Mayo festivities anywhere in the world. With the exception of Puebla City and its surrounding regions however, the holiday is significantly bigger in the U.S. than in Mexico, as Mexican American populations have embraced it as an opportunity to celebrate and strengthen community.
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