May 5 is approaching, a date that in the United States is used to celebrate Hispanic pride, – more specifically everything “Mexican” – where various brands offer paraphernalia, food and drinks to all who want to have a ” party ” .
However, I am sorry to disappoint you American friends. May 5 in Mexico is not a party as you imagine it. Wow, it’s not even a holiday. Of course it is an important date for us, but it is not a day in which we drink tequila until we cannot.
What is celebrated on May 5?
To begin with, one of the most deeply rooted popular beliefs in the United States is that May 5 is the celebration of the Independence of Mexico . It is not like this.
On May 5 we celebrated the Battle of Puebla , where we remember the soldiers, indigenous people, and peasants who united in 1862 to defend the country from the invasion of Napoleon III. It is a special date because at that time the French army was the most powerful in the world and our army was made up of enlisted soldiers and poorly prepared militias, but despite these disadvantages, we won .
It is known as the Battle of Puebla because the combat took place at Fort Guadalupe in the city of Puebla, in the center of the country. The forces of French General Charles Ferdinand Latrille, Count of Lorencez, reached the Summits of Acultzingo and faced the army commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza .
The war would ultimately be won by the French because Mexico was weakened by the American Invasion of 1848 and by a series of internal guerrillas. However, the spirit of May 5 would inspire Mexicans to continue fighting until the invaders were removed.
Why is it celebrated on May 5 in the United States?
When President Benito Juárez asked the generals of all factions to unite in defense of the homeland, only one of his former political rivals, Miguel Negrete , responded to the call with a phrase that became famous: “I have a homeland before a party! “
That is why the story of May 5 is summarized in perseverance, fight with honor and in the union to defend something higher despite political differences. That spirit has inspired Mexicans and Latinos around the world.
But why is it celebrated in the United States? Five years after the Battle of Puebla, a group of Mexicans began to commemorate this victory in Texas (Zaragoza’s place of origin when that state was part of Mexico) and since then on May 5 it became a symbol of Mexicans facing the racist violence around the world.
In 1930, according to the UNAM Gazette , the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles gave the party an official character and thus became a symbol of union among Latinos in the United States.
I am not Mexican, can I celebrate May 5 in my business?
Of course yes! May 5 is an important date for Latinos and to be very honest, there are few things that Mexicans love more than celebrating with our friends, no matter what race or country they are from.
In addition, May 5 is a date that generates millionaire sales. According to a Nielsen report, the celebration of the Battle of Puebla generated sales of $ 120 million in tortillas, salsa and chicken fajitas. And the avocado, which in 2020 (in the middle of the pandemic) sold 50 thousand tons . And we absolutely cannot forget alcohol, since beverages derived from agave, such as tequila and mezcal, which increased their sales by 39% last year (perhaps due to the closure).
According to a National Today poll , at least 70% of people in the United States plan to celebrate May 5, so you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity.
If you want to celebrate May 5 in your business, here are some recommendations:
- Show that you understand what the celebration is about. For us, May 5 is a special day and not a pretext to sell things. In 2013 Victoria’s Secret showed how not to do it by promoting T-shirts with the phrase “Let’s not taco about it”. Of course the strategy didn’t resonate well with social media users.
- Sell Mexican food that is Mexican. We love to celebrate with food! We are the only country in the world that has a party to celebrate that we return from death to continue eating ( Day of the Dead ). There are only four gastronomies that are Intangible Heritage of Humanity and Mexican is one of them. There are millions of dishes in our kitchen and nachos do not belong to it . There are more than 60 types of tacos (al pastor, carnitas, birria, barbecue, canasta, cochinita, to name just a few) and thousands, THOUSANDS of dishes beyond the famous enchiladas. Here we leave you a list of only 20 .
- Say no to stereotypes. To the surprise of many, most Mexicans are not dressed in sarapes and hats. Many are bothered by the continuation of these types of racist stereotypes through disguises, although many others have chosen to appropriate them. When in doubt, check with your community.
You can launch promotions with the number 5, put music in Spanish in your place (here we leave you a playlist of Entrepreneur in Spanish ), use words in Spanish (always respectfully), announce special services like Taco Bell did with its new delivery options , etc.
The most important thing is to understand that the Battle of Puebla is synonymous with unity and struggle, but that Mexicans love to celebrate with joy with our friends.
Of course, never say to a Mexican “Happy Independence Day!” on a May 5.