America’s Favorite Pastime is Commercializing Holidays

Xochitl Marin

In the United States, the month of May celebrates two major holidays: Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day. The sales and other aspects of commercialization open up debate about why these holidays are actually being celebrated.  


While holidays like Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day are both victims of commercialization, Memorial Day is commercialized a bit differently.


Memorial Day is the last Monday of every May in which we honor the soldiers who died serving the United States. 


Instead of celebrating the holiday by drinking tequila, this American holiday has been commercialized by companies like car dealers, hardware, and clothing stores as mentioned on The Heritage Foundation


Companies have used the holiday to create a weekend full of sales making loads of money off a holiday that is meant to commemorate fallen U.S. soldiers. 


Allowing companies to commercialize a holiday like Memorial Day ignores how there are families who are directly affected by this federal holiday. 


Similar to drowning the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo with burritos, nachos, and alcohol, people are drowning the meaning of Memorial Day by allowing it to be all about snagging those “amazing” deals companies offer.


Alongside Memorial Day being commercialized, the holiday, Cinco de Mayo is being commercialized right beside it. 


There is a common misconception as to why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated. Many wrongly believe that it is meant to celebrate Mexico’s independence day, when in fact it is the celebration of Mexico’s victory of the Battle of Puebla in the Franco- Mexican War. 


Despite being a special event in Mexican history, according to Insider, it’s celebrated a lot more than it actually is in Mexico. While being celebrated regionally in Mexico, in the United States it’s celebrated in big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston amongst some.

The large difference of how the Mexican rooted holiday is celebrated within Mexico and the U.S. left me to question if it was because Cinco de Mayo is being culture appropriated and commercialized in the United States. 


While it was originally introduced by Chicano activists bringing awareness to the holiday and it’s seen as a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture as mentioned on History, it doesn’t really seem like it’s being celebrated for those original reasons.


“Cinco de Mayo is a cultural phenomenon in the United States. It’s a time to celebrate Mexican culture and, for some, an opportunity to drink a lot of margaritas and cerveza,” as said on Independent.


If one sees “celebrating” Cinco de Mayo as grabbing margaritas, eating Mexican food with a sombrero, it’s incorrect and instead of actually celebrating the real meaning of Cinco de Mayo, they begin commercializing the holiday.


It’s important to stress ending the commercialization of holidays because it “dilutes the original intention of the holiday’s origin” as said on The Daily Targum.


Partaking in celebrating a holiday the wrong way could essentially erase the significance it once held leaving it forgotten in the dust because people allow themselves to be influenced by what’s being represented as “okay” when in reality it’s not. 


Whether it be appropriating culture or economically abusing a holiday, it all plays into the commercialization of holidays. 


Deciding to celebrate any holiday whether it’s Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, or any other holiday celebrated in the United States, it should be to immortalize the event that sparked the creation of the holiday in the first place, not what’s being wrongly normalized.