One of the most popular Mexican holidays and traditions is the Cinco de Mayo celebration, and while most people in the United States have heard of it, few know any real Cinco de Mayo facts. This year, before mixing up some margaritas and diving into tacos, spend some time learning about what Cinco de Mayo is and why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the United States. Learning about the history and culture behind this holiday will make your Cinco de Mayo celebration more meaningful and give you a better appreciation of Mexican culture.
One of the first things you’ll read about when you look up Cinco de Mayo facts is the Battle of Puebla. After the country gained its independence from Spain, there were still battles to be fought, and France saw this as its opportunity to try to take over. When the French army set its sights on the small central city of Puebla, Benito Juárez and his group of indigenous fighters prepared to defend their country. Even though they were heavily outnumbered and France anticipated an easy win, the Mexican troops were able to beat the French in a single day. While the conflict with France would continue for a few more years, this single battle marked the country as strong and independent, and it's this spirit that makes it one of the exciting Mexican holidays and traditions.
Because the holiday is so well known, many don’t even ask “Is Cinco de Mayo Mexican Independence Day?” Instead, they just assume it is. However, Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, and independence was declared 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. In fact, Cinco de Mayo isn’t even one of the most important holidays in Mexico. Few areas outside of Puebla do much to honor this day. In Puebla, you’ll see military parades, cultural dances, and friends and families gathering to share meals, but for the rest of the country, May 5th is just another day.
Even though it’s not one of the important holidays in Mexico, it’s become famous around the world, and when you look at why Cinco de Mayo celebrate is in the United States, you’ll have to give credit to immigrants and activists in the 1970s who saw this holiday as a way to celebrate their culture and heritage. It’s one of the Mexican holidays and traditions that’s made its way around the world, and throughout the United States, families and communities will come together on May 5th for cultural festivals and authentic Mexican food. Rather than just joining in the festivities without understanding what Cinco de Mayo is, take some time to explore the culture and learn some Cinco de Mayo facts before joining the celebration.
Because few people ask “Is Cinco de Mayo Mexican Independence Day?”, they’re always surprised to learn that it’s not one of the most important holidays in Mexico. While it is celebrated locally in Puebla, it’s become a way for Mexicans around the world to celebrate their culture and heritage. Before this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, take time to understand and appreciate the history and heritage behind the holiday, and sampling traditional foods and watching cultural performances will be more meaningful than ever before.