Cinco de Mayo Diluted by U.S. Liquor Industry

May 04, 2008 12:20 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The cultural value of Cinco de Mayo has changed as the American liquor industry cashes in on the holiday.

30-Second Summary

The Cinco de Mayo holiday celebration marks Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Traditionally, only two Mexican cities celebrated the event—Puebla and Mexico City.

The Cinco de Mayo celebration caught on in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. “American-born youth of Mexican immigrant parents transformed Cinco de Mayo [into] a bicultural event that expressed their newfound Mexican-American identity,” according to a study on the Smithsonian Web site.

In the 1960s, the Chicano movement publicized the holiday as a means of expressing Hispanic-American pride and heritage. At that point, it began to attract the attention of the U.S. liquor industry, which adopted the holiday as a marketing tool.

Today, Cinco de Mayo is a widespread celebration, best known by many Americans for the spirits that define the day—Corona has even labeled itself “the original party beer of Cinco de Mayo.”

Over the past few years, some Mexican-Americans have denounced the commercialization and drinking traditions that have come to define “Drinko de Mayo”; meanwhile, others believe that the popularization of the Mexican tradition in America will encourage integration between the two cultures.

Headline Links: Is Cinco de Mayo too commercialized?

Reactions: Reclaiming Cinco de Mayo

Historical Context: Cinco de Mayo in America

Related topic: Commercializing St. Patrick’s Day

Reference link: History and traditions of Cinco de Mayo


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