The History of Cinco De Mayo

By Matthew Selman

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that is celebrated in many parts of the world, but few people know the true history behind it. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, which is instead celebrated on September 16th. And it isn’t just a day for people of Mexican culture to party and drink. Instead, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. 

It’s  important to know a bit about the political climate in Mexico at the time. In 1861, Mexico was in the middle of a financial crisis, and President Benito Juarez was forced to default on the country’s foreign debts. This led to an invasion by France, led by Napoleon III. The French wanted to establish a new empire in Mexico, and they believed that they could easily defeat the Mexican army and take control of the country.

The French army was much larger and stronger than the Mexican army and they had already defeated the Mexicans in several battles. This time however, the Mexicans were determined to defend their country and they were able to achieve a surprising victory at the Battle of Puebla. Although the French would eventually take control of Mexico City and establish a new empire, the Battle of Puebla was an important symbolic victory for the Mexican people. It showed that they were capable of standing up to a much larger and more powerful army and it became a source of pride and inspiration for the Mexican people.

In the years following the Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo became a popular holiday in Mexico, especially in the state of Puebla. It was celebrated with parades, speeches, and other festivities, and it was seen as a way to honor the bravery and sacrifice of the Mexican soldiers who fought in the battle. However, the holiday did not become widely celebrated outside of Mexico until many years later.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo first became popular in the 1960s, during the Chicano movement. This was a social and political movement that focused on improving the lives of Mexican Americans, who often faced discrimination in the workplace. Many Mexican Americans saw Cinco de Mayo as a way to celebrate their heritage and culture, and they began organizing parades, dances, and other events to mark the occasion. Since this movement, more and more Americans have celebrated the holiday.

Over time, Cinco de Mayo became a more mainstream holiday in the United States, and it is now celebrated by people of all backgrounds. In many cities, there are massive parades and parties. Many bars and restaurants put deals on drinks and food to promote traffic. It is now a holiday in the United States and is widely celebrated by both America and Mexico.

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