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With the abundance presence of Mexican culture in the Lone Star state, many people may have planned to have a night out to appreciate Mexican culture this Cinco de Mayo 2023. Many of these gatherings will likely involve drinking plenty of alcohol. Although it is a time to commemorate Mexican heritage, there are ways to celebrate while staying safe and avoiding the dangers of drunk driving.

However, it is important to remember that Cinco de Mayo is much more than tequila and guacamole (in fact, it is Americanized that it’s celebrated more in the U.S. than in Mexico). Contrary to how some people in the United States have adopted Cinco de Mayo as a day for drinking alcohol, its origins are not associated with the consumption of alcohol. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the holiday began to transform into the cultural and culinary event that it is today. 

What is the History of Cinco de Mayo?

Contrary to what many non-Mexicans believe, Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s independence day(Mexican Independence Day is recognized on September 16, 1810, the beginning of Mexico’s revolution against Spain). Instead, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of Mexican troops against the invading French military forces in the Batalla de Puebla in 1862. 

The Mexican army was a big underdog; they were smaller and more ill-equipped than the French army. The French counterparts moved their way across Mexico before encountering the determined forces in Puebla. The battle was won on Cinco de Mayo, and although the Mexican victory was short-lived, the win still signified a symbol of Mexican resistance.  

In addition, here are some other facts about Cinco de Mayo:

  • The battle of Puebla occurred during the second year of the Civil War.
  • The win of the Mexican army over the French is important, as at the time, the Confederacy was seeking assistance from France, so this defeat impacted the outcome of the Civil War.
  • It was first celebrated by Mexican Americans as part of the cause to abolish slavery. 

Driven by the spirit of Cinco de Mayo and with American support, Mexicans eventually toppled the French-installed government and put Benito Juarez back in power.

Appropriate vs. Appropriation

In the mid-20th century United States, the celebration of Cinco de Mayo became popular among Mexican immigrants as a way to encourage pride in their Mexican heritage. However, critics took note that the holiday celebration didn’t take off with a broader demographic until it was explicitly linked with the promotion of Mexican alcoholic beverages and that many U.S. festivities tended to both perpetuate negative stereotypes of Mexicans and promote excessive drinking.

If you don’t consider yourself Mexican-American, you are still welcome to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and the culture itself. However, experts suggest that there are proper and respectful ways to celebrate this special day, which exclude wearing a sombrero or mustaches or claiming that it is “Cinco de Drinko.” Instead, you may want to celebrate at an authentic Mexican restaurant near you and definitely listen and enjoy all the wonderful music that comes from Mexico. 

Whether you decide to celebrate the amazing and beautiful Mexican culture, it is important to be safe. Take a look at some not so fun facts about Cinco de Mayo. 

  1. In 2019, 47 people died in drunk driving crashes during Cinco de Mayo.
  2. About one-third of all crashes on May 5 involved a drunk driver.
  3. Texas is ranked third for the deadliest state on Cinco de Mayo.

Have fun by avoiding the dangers of drinking and driving on Cinco de Mayo

It seems to be common sense that a safe and sober ride home is an essential part of any plan that includes drinking. However, for many, not following this simple rule cost them their life or freedom. Alcohol-influenced and high-speed crashes continue to occur on Cinco de Mayo—making it a deadly holiday. Drinking-related Cinco de Mayo festivities come with a consequence, with nearly 37% of all Cinco de Mayo road fatalities in 2019 attributable to drunk drivers. 

With drunk driving as one of the leading killers on America’s roads, here are some tips to get people home safe after a day of drinking. Follow these easy steps to stay safe on Cinco de Mayo:

  • Decide if you will drink or if you will drive before going to the party. You can only choose one.
  • Keep your word. If you commit as the designated driver, stay sober.
  • Use resources; they are available. If you have been drinking, ask a sober friend or family member to give you a ride home. If that is not an option, call Lyft or Uber. Take precautions if using a rideshare company.
  • Walking home drunk is not a safe alternative. In fact, the risk of getting hit by a vehicle due to the lack of attention can be deadly.
  • Drive aware of those around you. Unfortunately, people are getting behind the wheel intoxicated, which will put themselves and others in danger. If you spot someone who appears to be driving under the influence, call 911. You could potentially be saving lives.
  • Care about others. If you notice someone that plans to drive home is drinking, hide their keys and help them find a safe ride home.

By staying safe through the holiday, you’ll continue to have a joyful celebration of Mexican culture on Cinco de Mayo with delicious food and surrounded by loved ones.

The Carlson Law Firm can help

Car crashes can be devastating. They are even more devastating when you are an injured victim because someone decided to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. If a drunk driver caused you injuries, let our experienced auto accident attorneys advocate on your behalf. You deserve to be justly compensated for your medical bills past and present, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other costs that resulted from the drunk driving crash.

Contact The Carlson Law Firm today for a free consultation. We care, and we can help.

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