Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you probably know what Cinco de Mayo means in English… May 5th.
But while the name of this Mexican-American holiday is mixed in with margaritas, enchiladas, and yes, a lot more, we should all realize that the day is more than an excuse for a fun night. more important. Out of town.
What is the significance of Cinco de Mayo in a historical context? Why is it celebrated in Mexico and the US?
Dancing to traditional mariachi music, sipping tequila for practice without choking, and learning about the history of Cinco de Mayo requires learning some fun facts about Cinco de Mayo.
So here are 15 facts about Cinco de Mayo history to share with your friends and loved ones while celebrating Mexican-American culture in style.
15 Interesting Facts About Cinco de Mayo
1. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day.
Ask anyone what Cinco de Mayo celebrates and you might hear “two-in-one cervezas?” or “Mexican Independence Day”?
Wrong and wrong!
The latter is actually celebrated on September 16 – dieciséis de Septiembre – “to celebrate the ‘independence cry’ of September 16, 1810, which began the revolt against the Spaniards”, and is celebrated on September 15″ The second day of the Scream in Dolores (Spanish: Grito de Dolores)… History of the early morning of September 16, 1810 in Dolores, Mexico (now Dolores Hidalgo) event [when] Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bells of his church and issued the pronunciamiento (call for arms) that sparked the Mexican War of Independence. “
2. Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla.
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates the victory of the Mexican army against France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.
General Ignacio Zaragoza led the Mexican army to defeat the invading French army.
On May 5, 1862, “the army of the liberal government headed by Benito Juárez” won the battle against “the French army sent by Napoleon III to establish a French satellite state in Mexico”.
The Mexican state of Puebla is located in the mountains of east-central Mexico and is known for its chapulas, mol poblano, and high industrialization.
3. The victory over the French was a big deal.
Back on the battlefield… At that time, the French had not been defeated for nearly 50 years. They had fine weapons and 8,000 soldiers, but it wasn’t enough to defeat the 4,000 Mexicans defending Puebla.
And additional fun facts: Since then, there has been no military invasion of the Americas by Europe.
4. The Battle of Puebla wasn’t just a victory for Mexico—it influenced the outcome of the American Civil War.
Many historians say the French ventured into Mexico not only because the bankrupt Mexican government had suspended debt payments to France, but also because they saw an opportunity in neighboring America.
Author David Ruth said: “Napoleon thought that if he could control Mexico, it might become the first colony of France’s new stronghold in Central America. Abraham Lincoln was busy with the Civil War, so the Americans would not be on Napoleon’s side. Better yet, a French puppet government was set up in Mexico City, and Napoleon could supply the Confederation with guns in exchange for Southern cotton, a scarce commodity in Europe due to the Union shipping blockade.
Can you imagine what life would be like now if the Northern Confederacy lost the Civil War?
5. Mexicans don’t really celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
Many Americans have a huge Cinco de Mayo celebration…though most people don’t know what the holiday is about, unfortunately it’s fairly typical among Americans.
According to Wikipedia, “In Mexico, commemorating the war is still largely ceremonial, such as through military parades or reenactments of battles. The city of Puebla commemorates the battle of this event with festivals of art, local food festivals, and reenactments.”
However, this celebration of the popularity of Mexican-American culture in the United States should not be mistaken for mere cultural appropriation.
As History.com explains, “Chicano activists raised awareness of the festival in the 1960s, in part because they identified with Mexican indigenous peoples (like Juárez) who won over European invaders at the Battle of Puebla. .”
Some of the biggest celebrations and festivals take place in Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles.
6. FDR brought Cinco de Mayo to America.
Thanks to a little diplomacy by Roosevelt, another country’s holiday was brought to the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed a Good Neighbor Policy in 1933 to improve relations with Latin American countries. This policy made Cinco de Mayo a mainstream holiday in the United States.
7. California was the first state in the United States to celebrate the holiday.
Thanks to a large number of Mexican immigrants, California joined the holiday trend long before the 1933 policy was passed. They started celebrating as early as 1863.
advertise Need to chat with someone? Get support from BetterHelp’s licensed therapists. Sign up now and get 15% off!
8. Mole Poblano is the official dish.
Tacos and margaritas are great, but they’re not the official dishes of the holiday season. It’s actually Mole Poblano! For those of you who don’t know this authentic Mexican dish, it’s a dark brown sauce made with Mexican chocolate and lots of spices. The dish originated in the Mexican city of Puebla, where the victory took place.
9. The general had a city named after him.
General Ignacio Zaragoza, who led the Mexicans into battle, was honored for the victory. He was born in what is now South Texas and was only 33 years old when he fought. In his honor, the city of Puebla was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza.
10. The kids in Mexico have a day off.
While this holiday is not a very commercial or federal holiday in Mexico, kids can get a day off school.
Related stories from YourTango:
11. Americans eat too many avocados at Cinco de Mayo.
Guacamole is an American staple on Cinco de Mayo, which means we eat a lot of avocados. According to the California Avocado Commission, we eat about 80 million pounds of avocados on Cinco de Mayo alone in the United States.
12. The battle is repeated every year.
In Mexico City, the public reenacts the historic Battle of Puebla every year at the Cinco de Mayo. The event attracts a large number of tourists and history buffs.
13. Los Angeles hosts the largest celebration in the world.
The city of Los Angeles hosts the biggest holiday celebration, and it doesn’t even originate in the United States. The festivities spread from Olvera Street to Broadway.
It’s even bigger than the festivities in the city of Puebla, where the holiday takes place. Houston and Chicago are not far behind.
14. Cinco de Mayo is an official holiday in the United States.
Although Roosevelt made the holiday popular in the 1930s, it wasn’t officially an American holiday until Congress passed it in 2005.
15. The annual Cinco de Mayo air guitar competition.
An air guitar competition is held annually at Cinco de Mayo at a Hardrock Cafe in the Cayman Islands.
More on YourTango:
Amanda Green is a writer with extensive experience in copywriting, branded content, social media and editorial.