‘Twasn’t until it was a “Holiday” in Southern California that it then became a holiday in Mexico. Originally only celebrated in and around the State of Puebla in Mexico for the victory over French forces in 1862, it became a “celebration” in the US in order that merchants could sell liquor and food to mexican worker and migrants in California….and somehow became a “celebration of Mexican American Heritage”
And even now, more gringos in the US celebrate Cinco de Mayo than Mexicans. Most Mexican immigrants in the US, both legal and not, aren’t sure why anyone celebrates 5 may…but hey, Mexican!
It’s not a national holiday in Mexico, although schoolchildren are given the day off.
And it isn’t Mexico’s national Independance day….That’s 16 September…..
A 2007 UCLA Newsroom article notes that, “the holiday, which has been celebrated in California continuously since 1863, is virtually ignored in Mexico.” TIME magazine reports that “Cinco de Mayo started to come into vogue in 1940s America during the rise of the Chicano Movement.” The holiday crossed over from California into the rest of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s but did not gain popularity until the 1980s when marketers, especially beer companies, capitalized on the celebratory nature of the day and began to promote it. It grew in popularity and evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, first in areas with large Mexican-American populations, like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and San Jose.