What is Cinco de Mayo?

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is a Mexican holiday that honors the achievement of the Mexican army over the French army in one definitive battle in the Mexican state of Puebla. We recognize this battle as “La Batalla de Puebla” or the Battle of Puebla. Although it was not a victory significant in the comprehensive war because of the circumstance that Mexico lost the war. The destruction of 8000 French soldiers by 4000 Mexican soldiers was a significant morale boost to the full population of Mexico. Since the Battle of Puebla, no European military has occupied any country in the Americas.

Cinco de Mayo is a nationwide bank/school holiday in Mexico but is only observed in Puebla and in the United States. Why is it observed in the USA? We regard the holiday as a day to celebrate Mexican heritage, not unlike St. Patrick’s Day is a day to revere everything Irish. However, the original observance of Cinco de Mayo was to have taken place in California in the 1860s when Mexican miners honored the French’s defeat in the Battle of Puebla. The holiday increased momentum in the U.S. between the 1940s and the 1960s. The biggest boost in popularity came in the 1980s when marketers, and beer companies, encouraged it.

We honor Cinco de Mayo today in the cities with the largest communities of inhabitants of Mexican ancestry (Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston) and in many other towns all over the USA. Wikipedia mentions that “As of July 2018, Mexican Americans make up 11.3% of the United States’ population with over 37,000,000 Americans listed as of Mexican lineage,” so it is only reasonable that the U.S. celebrates their rich Mexican culture. Besides, it’s the excuse to attend mariachi bands playing music, dine on tacos and enchiladas, and consume Mexican beer and margaritas! Viva Mexico!

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