Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5 in Mexico, especially in Pueblo, and the United States. The two countries have different backgrounds for celebrating this day. In Mexico, this holiday marks the Battle of Pueblo in the state of Pueblo, which ended on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army defeated the French. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo began as a celebration of Mexican freedom and democracy, heritage and pride. It started in West America by the Mexican-American community during the American Civil War.
Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s independence day.
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is called ‘El Día de la Batalla de Puebla’, which means The Day of the Battle of Puebla.
Cinco de Mayo isn’t a federal holiday in Mexico, so the offices, banks, and stores remain open.
When the Mexican’s beat the French in the Battle at Pueblo, it was unexpected. It was thought the French would win, who were there to collect on war debts.
Celebrations mainly center around the state of Puebla, which was the site of the 1862 battle.
Spain and England also sent forces to collect debts but retreated after making an agreement with Mexico.
It was popularized in the United States in the mid-1900s.
The French army was better equipped, better trained and was much larger. Mexico only had approximately 4,000 poorly-armed soldiers and France had between 6,500 and 8000 well-equipped soldiers. France hadn’t been beaten in 50 years.
Cinco de Mayo also gained popularity through Chicano activists in the 1960s and 1970s, who identified with the Mexican Indian and mestizo (people of Mexican Indian and European descent) soldiers’ triumph over European conquest attempts.
Cinco de Mayo is often confused as being Mexico’s Independence Day. Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th and is considered to be Mexico’s most important patriotic holiday.
Cinco de Mayo is one of more than 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent. Cities such as Chicago and Houston host annual Cinco de Mayo events that draw hundreds of thousands of celebrants.
In 2005, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution to recognize the ‘historical significance’ of Cinco de Mayo.
May 5 brings parties, fiestas, and parades. People indulge in Mexican cuisine, wear colorful “Puebla dresses,” and listen to mariachi music.
The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration is held in Los Angeles, California. It’s called ‘Fiesta Broadway’, and began in 1990. Approximately 600,000 people attend the celebration.
The official dish of Cinco de Mayo is considered mole poblano.
In Chandler Arizona they hold a parade and Chihuahua races each year and crown a King and a Queen Chihuahua.
Avocado sales increase on Cinco de Mayo. According to the California Avocado Commission, people consume 87 million pounds of avocados for the holiday.
Some of the foods that are popular on May 5th include enchiladas, tacos, burritos and guacamole. Some of the popular drinks include tequila and margaritas.
Mexican President Benito Juárez made it a holiday on May 9, 1862.
When Mexicans defeated the French, it also impacted the U.S. It made it impossible for Napolean III the ability to get supplies to the Confederate rebels.
Cindo de Mayo was recognized as a national holiday in the U.S. in 2005.
A year after Mexico defeated the French army they came back with 30,000 soldiers and took Mexico City. It only lasted for three years, until Mexico took control once again.
The Cayman Islands in the Caribbean don’t exactly stick to tradition for their celebrations. They hold an annual air guitar competition.
Since the Battle at Pueblo, no European country has ever invaded the Americas.
Canada celebrates in it’s own way too. Vancouver does something called a “skydiving boogie” which is an air show that involves aerial acrobatics.
In 2006, there were at least 150 official Cinco de Mayo events taking place in the U.S.
May 5th is also the anniversary of when NASA launched the first American-manned space flight (1961) and the opening of Carnegie Hall (1891).
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated mainly in Pueblo, Mexico. It is not as popular in the rest of the country.
It is more popular in the U.S. then it is in Mexico.
It is also celebrated in Malta, a country right below Italy.
In Canada, there is a Cinco de Mayo Street Festival held in Windsor, Ontario. A Vancouver, British Columbia sky diving clubs holds a Cinco de Mayo sky diving event.
There are also celebrations in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands, Montego Bay, Australia, London, Paris and even New Zealand.
All the public schools in Mexico are closed on May 5th.