COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Here in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is like one big party, even taking on a new name of "cinco de drink-o." While the day is one of the busiest for Mexican restaurants, interpretations about what the holiday means are a far cry from its actual meaning.
Columbus resident Dani Kennerly says "when I think about Cinco de Mayo I think about sugar skulls and roses, drinking."
James Tatum, also from Columbus, adds "I think it's something like a Mexican Independence Day like 4th of July.
Regardless the reason, hundreds flock into Mexican restaurants across the Chattahoochee Valley to celebrate, making May the fifth one of the most lucrative days of the year for business for owners like Ernesto Navarro at Viva el Toro in Columbus.
So, what's the real reason behind the celebration you ask?
"It was a battle against French, right? And when we won, we won democracy and freedom," Navarro explains.
On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army defeated the French in a small battle in the state of Puebla. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexican independence day.
Navarro says "no it's not. Our Mexican independence we celebrate on September 16."
Still, each year on the 5th of May, folks pile into bars for celebratory Mexican food and margaritas. So much, Navarro adds, that it's a busier holiday in the United States than it is in Mexico where it's more of an educational observance day.
"In Mexico, we just do it like in schools and all this stuff, but they don't make a big celebration in the street like we do when it's Mexican independence," Navarro shares.
After coming to Columbus 10 years ago from Mexico, Navarro tells us he still isn't sure why the Cinco de Mayo is so more popular in this country than in its country of origin, but he's happy for the business. And Viva el Toro has rolled out specials to accommodate the party.
He adds,"we're really busy. I mean, our numbers are really high and we have a lot of specials."
Navarro tells me they have drink and food specials for Cinco de Mayo and even commemorative t-shirts for sale. Whether you come to Viva el Toro to celebrate with us or celebrate somewhere else, it's important to have a designated driver.
If you can't find one, AAA has tow to go service at (855)-2-TOW-2-GO.