Cinco de Mayo means May 5th in Spanish, which is one of the most misunderstood Mexican holidays. Some believe it’s Mexico’s independence day. However, Mexican independence is celebrated on September 16th.
May 5th is the day to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over Napoleon III in 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. France had come to Mexico to collect the war debts owed to European countries.
Today, Cinco de Mayo has become more of an American holiday than a Mexican one. For many American, this day means enjoying Mexican food and a few margaritas. Most non-Mexican American have no idea about the day’s history, said Carlos Tortolero, president of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.
Battle of Puebla
The Battle of Puebla took place on May 5 1862 during the French intervention in Mexico. The battle ended with a victory for the Mexican Army over the French forces. The French eventually overran the Mexicans in subsequent battles, but the Mexican’s victory at Puebla provided a morale boost to the Mexican army and helped slow the French’s advances toward Mexico City.
The victory is celebrated yearly on the fifth of May and is celebrated as El Dia de la Puebla in Mexico and Cinco de Mayo in the United States.
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