Cinco de Mayo, meaning fifth of May in Spanish, is an important day for the Mexicans. It is a regional holiday in Mexico, celebrated in order to commemorate the unexpected victory of the Mexican army over the French forces on May 5, 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. The victory was and remains to be a symbol of pride and patriotism for the Mexicans, proving the world that they are capable of defending themselves from foreign intervention. Here are some interesting Cinco de Mayo facts for you.
Facts About Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated as a significant day, next to Independence Day. Very often, Cinco de Mayo is confused with the Mexican Independence Day, which is on September 16.
The Mexicans suffered from destruction and bankruptcy during the War of Reform, 1858 - 1860, which was an internal struggle for economic, political, and religious reforms. Taking advantage of collecting debt, Napoleon III, the ruler of France, along with his well-trained army marched to invade Mexico city. It was then that the Battle of Puebla took place between the Mexican and French army.
At the battle, the Mexican and French Generals fought with swords, in which the Mexican General won. As a part of winning celebration, speeches were made by the government officials in honor of the Mexican army. The Mexicans celebrated the day with lively dances, games, traditional food (enchiladas, tacos, tamales, tres leches cake, pan dulce), drinks (Paloma, Grenada, margaritas, Toronha), traditional music (mostly mariachi), colorful decorations, bullfights, and fireworks.
In the Battle of Puebla, the French forces (about 6,500) were better equipped and more in number than the Mexican army (about 4,500), led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. However, it was the unity of the Mexicans and their love for Mexico that helped them to overcome the invading French troops. Though the French army occupied Mexico in the next year after the Battle of Puebla, the 5th of May is still an important day in the history of Mexico.
The Battle of Puebla was indeed a catalyst for the Mexicans and served them in gaining confidence for the future war of independence. With confidence and determination, the Mexicans achieved independence after defeating the French in 1867. In addition, Cinco de Mayo is a significant day for all Americans as the Battle of Puebla represented the last struggle to fight against foreign power.
The largest event of Cinco de Mayo, called Festival de Fiesta Broadway, is held in Los Angeles where thousands of people gather and celebrate with traditional food and music. Other major events of the day include festivals held in Denver, Colorado and St Paul's, Minnesota. Another notable event is the Chihuahua parade in Chandler, Arizona, in which at the end of the day, a Chihuahua king and queen are crowned. In the United States, the Cinco de Mayo celebrations became popular in the 1960s. Today, it is celebrated to pay homage to the Mexican culture.
Though there is no doubt that Cinco de Mayo is a day of political significance, the Mexicans, especially those residing in Puebla, celebrate it as a day of pride that upholds their heritage.