HOUSTON (ValleyCentral) — Author Thomas Fellows discusses how he feels American beer companies have hijacked Cinco de May for commercial gain.
JM: So, what did you want to talk about today, Thomas?
TF: With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I wanted to talk about how American beer companies completely hijacked the holiday for commercial gain.
JM: What does Cinco De Mayo represent?
TF: Cinco De Mayo is a yearly celebration held on May 5, which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, the victory of a smaller, poorly equipped Mexican force against the larger and better-armed French army was a morale boost for the Mexicans. Zaragoza died months after the battle from an illness, and a larger French force ultimately defeated the Mexican army at the Second Battle of Puebla and occupied Mexico City. Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day—the most important national holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16, commemorating the Cry of Dolores in 1810, which initiated the war of Mexican independence from Spain.
JM: So, you say that the holiday has been hijacked by American beer companies. How exactly has that happened?
TF: The day gained nationwide popularity in the 1980s due to advertising campaigns by beer, wine, and tequila companies; today, Cinco de Mayo generates beer sales on par with the Super Bowl. According to Nielsen, in 2013 more than $600 million worth of beer was purchased in the United States for Cinco de Mayo, more than for the Super Bowl or St. Patrick’s Day.
JM: What does Cinco De Mayo mean to you, and how do you plan on celebrating it?
TF: Well, Cinco De Mayo was always one of my favorite holidays growing up in Atlanta because it meant that we would have Mexican food, which is one of my favorite cuisines. Believe it or not, I once convinced my psychology teacher Senior year of high school to take us to my favorite Mexican restaurant, Taxco, for a class trip. Years later, I would sell 40-50 copies of my first book there.
JM: So, what is your takeaway for those who celebrate Cinco De Mayo this year?
TF: Just know that this is basically an American holiday now designed to get people to eat Mexican food and drink Corona, Dos Equis, and Modelo.
JM: What do you plan on doing this Cinco De Mayo?
TF: There’s a party in the parking lot of my local Mexican Restaurant called Los Tios. I plan on going there and handing out books.
JM: Lastly, is Taco Bell authentic Mexican food?
TF: Absolutely not.