Most Americans surveyed don't know what Cinco de Mayo celebrates

Jamie BallardData Journalist
May 05, 2020, 1:50 PM UTC

Cinco de Mayo is today, and plenty of Americans assume that means we're celebrating Mexico's Independence Day.

Data from YouGov Direct finds that 41 percent of US adults surveyed believe that Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is Mexico’s Independence Day. But a nearly equal number (40%) say that it isn’t, while another 19 percent are unsure. 

 


Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. Independence Day in Mexico (Día de la Independencia) is actually observed on September 16. So, no, Cinco de Mayo is not the same as Mexico’s Independence Day. 

In many parts of the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Additional polling from YouGov Direct finds that 11 percent of US adults say they will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year. Hispanic Americans (23%) are especially likely to say they will be observing the holiday. 

A separate weekend poll from YouGov found that 58 percent of US adults said they were confident that they knew what Cinco de Mayo is meant to celebrate. 

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Methodology: Data for “To the best of your knowledge, is Cinco de Mayo Mexico’s Independence Day?” is based on 2,078 interviews with YouGov Direct panelists. Data for “Will you be doing anything to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?” is based on 2,079 interviews with YouGov Direct panelists. These datasets were weighted based on age and gender to best represent the US population. Interviews were conducted through the YouGov Direct app on May 1 and May 2, 2020.

Image: Getty