Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today we observe the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862.
As we continue to celebrate and learn about heritage and cultures from around the world, it makes sense to mention Cinco de Mayo and its historical significance to the Latin culture.
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American or more commonly known as the Latin culture.
About the Battle of Puebla
The Battle of Puebla was an important event during the Mexican Civil War. The battle upon the Mexican and French Army occurred because of debts owed to the French Republic. The goal of the French was to take control of Mexican ports to ensure debt repayment and reparations for foreign citizens living in Mexico.
However, the French were not victorious in this battle and the French ultimately retreated and it was on May 9, 1862, President Juárez declared that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday regarded as “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo”.
A minor misconception is that Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of Mexico’s independence. This is false. Mexico’s independence is celebrated on September 16th from previous Spanish occupation until 1810.
Celebrating of Cinco de Mayo
The day is an official holiday in the State of Puebla, where the Battle took place and in the neighboring State of Veracruz and all public schools are closed nationwide in Mexico.
Also, each year on Cinco de Mayo, a reenactment and other celebrations remembering the Battle of Puebla is held in Puebla, Mexico along with many other cities and towns.
Watch this video of the 2017 reenactment
Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in the United States
Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday where government offices or businesses close to observe or celebrate. However, Cinco de Mayo, as an unofficial holiday, has been celebrated in California since 1863.
The holiday spread from California to the rest of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s but did not gain popularity until the 1980s when marketers, especially beer and distillery companies, capitalized on the celebratory nature of the day.
Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? What does this Latin holiday mean to you? Tell us about it in the comments?