But what is Cinco de Mayo, exactly?
Originally, Cinco de Mayo (“The Fifth of May”) was a yearly commemoration of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire in 1862. Though that victory wasn’t conclusive, it played an important role in boosting the Mexicans’ morale and served as a reminder that the country can break free — which it eventually did several years later.
But the holiday changed its meaning later on, becoming a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage at large. These days, typical Cinco de Mayo activities include public parades, folk music concerts, dinner and cocktails parties, and more.
Also, Cinco de Mayo became more popular in the US than in Mexico. Part of the reason for that were the extensive marketing campaigns during the 1980s. These campaigns helped establish the modern meaning of Cinco de Mayo and stimulate sales during the holiday — and the impact persists to this day. In fact, it is growing bigger — and so does the revenue businesses generate around this date.