Cinco de Mayo is a holiday where everyone celebrates Mexican culture, but what exactly is Cinco de Mayo?
Here are 5 things you should know about this Mexican holiday.
- Cinco de Mayo honors an important day in Mexican history…but it’s NOT Mexico’s Independence day. May 5th marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla against the invading French army in 1862, according to NBC News. “The significance…is that it represents Mexican resistance to foreign intervention,” said, Raul Ramos, Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston. It represents a struggle against imperialism. Mexico defaulted on a debt to several European countries. France invaded but the smaller and lesser equipped Mexican army was able to hold them back.”
- Mexico’s actual independence day is September 16
- Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the U.S. than in Mexico – “Mexican-American activists raised awareness of this battle in the 1960s, since they identified with the victory of native Mexicans over European invaders. Over the years, it’s become more of a celebration of Mexican culture in the U.S., with large festivals taking place in major cities around the U.S.”, according to History.com.
- Cinco de Mayo may be more American than people think.“Cinco de Mayo is a tradition dating from the Civil War,” according to David Hayes Bautista, a professor at the University of California Los Angeles, per Huffington Post. “When Latinos living in California heard that the French lost the battle, “it electrified the population,” according to David, leading many to join the Union army to fight the Confederacy.”
- A Cinco de Mayo hero was from Texas! The hero of the Battle of Puebla is a Texan. General Ignacio Zaragoza, who led the ragtag Mexican army to victory, was born in what is now Goliad, Texas. “It gives you a sense that our countries have had a shared history going back hundreds of years,” said Raul Ramos, Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston.