Cinco de Mayo: Just Another American Consumer Holiday?

As many of you know, today is Cinco de mayo, Spanish for the 5th of May, a very historical day celebrated by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

Some locals tell me it's a great way to learn about the Mexican culture, the history, music and different foods.     

Others tell me, it's just another American consumer holiday.

"Mexicans will come out here for the festivities but it's more of an American-made holiday," said Eulogio Zarate, Viera's Bakery manager.

Zarate seems to echo a recent CNN report that Cinco de Mayo has been criticized for becoming too commercialized in recent years.

There is a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but that day is September 16th.

Today commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

The holiday is celebrated in the State of Puebla with political speeches and battle reenactments but not widely commemorated elsewhere in Mexico.

In many cities in the United States, there are festivities featuring mariachi music, dancing and parades.

Locally, the Cinco de Mayo parade took place on Saturday in downtown Pasco.

One of the parade's planners said it's a way to get the community together.

"I think it's important with the huge Hispanic population that we have, I think it's a celebration and blending of cultures," said Michael Goins, Executive Director of the Downtown Pasco Development Authority.

Zarate said despite commercialization of the holiday, he feels it's a great way to bring bring people of different cultures together.

"It's good to get everybody together, not only Hispanics, you got different cultures coming out here to experience what Cinco de Mayo means to a lot of people." 

Nearly 6,000 people attended the parade in Pasco.