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Cinco De Mayo: Who, What, Why

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How did an obscure small battle in a city in Mexico result in a tequila drinking, sombrero wearing, taco eating global celebration? Well, let me tell you. And, this year, the day not only falls on a Saturday but also over a Bank Holiday Weekend - making the UK a surprise candidate for the best place to celebrate.
 
So Cinco de Mayo is an American (and now British) celebration of Mexico that is now completely removed from the event which it ostensibly commemorates; an improbable defeat of the French army by the Mexicans at the Battle of Puebla, a short-lived victory which isn’t actually celebrated by Mexico - not just because the French did eventually take over - but it’s historically been treated as more of a personal victory for the city of Puebla and was celebrated locally.
 
In the 1960s, alongside the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the US, which sought to create greater ethnic solidarity and equal rights for Mexican Americans, the celebration of Cinco de Mayo became an important way for larger Mexican American communities to maintain cultural tradition but also stake a claim in American history. This innocent celebration was obviously was like a red flag to the marketing machine bull - and Corona took the opportunity to sell a load of beer off the back of the holiday - launching an ad campaign around the idea of reclaiming ethnic identity, encouraging Mexican Americans to drink Corona as a means to stay culturally connected.
 
And the rest, as they say, is history. However you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo this weekend - may it be tequila infused. Salud!

 

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