Cinco De Mayo

When is it celebrated?

It is celebrated on May 5th.

Who celebrates it?

It is celebrated in Puebla, Mexico.  It is also celebrated in other parts of Mexico, the United States, and some parts of the world.

Where does it originate from?

In 1861, Britain, France, and Spain sent an army to Mexico after it was unable to pay back its debt to them that it accumulated after years of wars.  Britain and Spain ended up renegotiating and leaving. France refused and used this as an opportunity to establish a presence in the Americas. It began, under the leadership of Napoleon III, by sending an army to attack the port of Puebla.  In response, Mexico rounded up 2,000 men led by General Ignacio Zaragoza to fight the French. The Battle of Puebla that took place on May 5, 1862 lasted from early morning to evening. At the end, despite its small and less equipped army Mexico won.  This was a huge morale win for the area. After the win, the French still remained in Mexico and the fighting continued for the next couple of years. In 1866, the French finally surrendered after having threats of war back home from Prussia and of US resistance as the American Civil War had just ended and their resources became available.

Symbols/Traditions:

In Puebla, Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with parades and re-enactments of the battle.

In the United States, it was first celebrated in California when a group of Mexican miners heard news of the victory over the French.  It has now grown into a celebration of Mexican culture and is more popular in the US than Mexico. Its traditions include:

  • Parades and festivals
  • Mariachi music and folk dancing
  • Decorations with flowers and Mexican flags
  • Wearing traditional Mexican clothing
  • Food: tacos, enchiladas, mole poblano, Mexican drinks
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