Cinco de Mayo is on Saturday and although many of us use the day as an excuse to drink inappropriate amounts of tequila, May 5th is actually about a lot more than partying. Here are five little-known facts about the holiday:
- Cinco De Mayo Is More Popular in the United States Than Mexico. Although it's a Mexican holiday, more Americans celebrate the 5th of May than Mexicans. This is because the Battle of Puebla occurred while America was embroiled in civil war: Mexicans living in the United States found strength in celebrating the victory against the French in their native country. These celebrations eventually became a huge part of American culture, with the largest celebrations occurring in Los Angeles.
- Cinco De Mayo Is Not Mexican Independence Day. Many Americans believe that Cinco de Mayo also represents the day that Mexico gained its independence as a country, but that belief is wrong. Mexico has a separate holiday, "Grito de Dolores," for its independence day, which occurs on September 16. The name comes from the town of Dolores where the independence movement in the country began.
- The Commercialization of Cinco De Mayo by Alcohol Companies Began in the 1980s. Cinco de Mayo was not always about seeing how many shots of tequila one could down or how many margaritas one could put away. That part of the celebration began in the 1980s when companies selling alcoholic beverages figured out that they could market the holiday as a drinking day. Now, Americans wouldn't think about celebrating the holiday without imbibing.
- One of Two People Invented the Margarita. Speaking of the margarita, one of the most consumed drinks on Cinco de Mayo, we're not really sure who actually invented it, although historians have narrowed it down to two people. Mexican legend states that Carlos "Danny" Herrera developed the drink around 1938 after dreaming it up for an aspiring actress who could only drink tequila. There was also a Dallas socialite, Margarita Sames, who claimed that she created the drink in 1948, which was then named after her.
- Americans Consume Millions of Avocados on Cinco De Mayo. Cinco de Mayo, though, isn't just about drinking lots of tequila: it's also about enjoying Mexican food, including guacamole, a popular Mexican dip made with avocados. The California Avocado Commission estimates that 81 million avocados get consumed on May 5.