On May 5, every year many Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo with festivities filled with mariachi music, dancing, food and of course Coronas. But many of those who celebrate do not know the story behind Cinco de Mayo. Here are a few things you need to know about Cinco de Mayo.
The Battle of Puebla (Batalla de Puebla)
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It began in 1861 when President Benito Juarez declared a temporary hold on repayment of foreign debts due to an economic crisis.
This did not settle well with the English, Spanish and French. Napoleon III of France sent his cousin, Maximilian of Hapsburg to Mexico along with French troops to invade the country. On May 5, 1862 under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza, he and a small army defeated the French troops in Puebla.
The city is now known as Puebla de Zaragoza.
Mexico’s Independence Day
Some believe Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s independence day but it’s not.
The Mexican War of Independence from Spain occurred in 1810 and is greatly celebrated on September 16 of every year. It is a very big holiday like the United States’ Independence Day (also known as the Fourth of July).
Celebrations in Mexico
The holiday has largely become a national day of celebrating Mexican heritage in the United States.
In Puebla where it all began, it is commemorated with an reenactment of the battle and parades.
Cinco de Mayo is an optional national holiday in Mexico. It is up to businesses, schools, banks and government offices whether they want to be closed or open that day.
Now you can go to your Cinco de Mayo party and impress your friends with what you’ve just learned!
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Photo source from Pixabay