According to MEXOnline:
The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, with some recognition in other parts of the Mexico, and especially in U.S. cities with a significant Mexican population.
Where I live, Cinco de Mayo has become "The Day When Every Mexican Restaurant Is Packed To The Rafters."
The maternal side of my husband's family is Mexican, and I remember a decade ago that my husband's mother used to take his sister out of school on Cinco de Mayo so they could go out to lunch and have a special holiday together.
That was before the liquor companies and fast food restaurants got the idea to promote Cinco de Mayo as yet another day of themed consumption. Now, suddenly, everybody's racing to the Mexican restaurants that day.
Yet who am I to argue? I like tamales. I like margaritas. Our office had a group lunch yesterday at a popular Mexican restaurant and I jammed myself into the crowded lobby with the rest of the easily influenced diners.
You'd hope that the extra business and revenue from beefed-up Cinco de Mayo celebrations would benefit small restaurant owners, and it probably has in the short term. Unfortunately, Hispanic business owners are still hindered by discrimination, according to the owner of our favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant.
My husband went to buy tamales on Wednesday night and didn't come back for more than an hour. He was talking to the owner, Mr. Garcia, who was upset that despite the fact that he'd worked hard to triple his tiny restaurant's business in just a few years, he had been denied a small loan he needed to grow the business further.
A friend of ours is on the board of the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, so we're going to get them in touch with each other in the hope that Mr. Garcia can get assistance there. Still, it's a sad state of affairs when an otherwise successful entrepreneur can't take advantage of "mainstream" funding sources just because of his accent.
That's a problem that can't be fixed by a few fiestas...