05 May It’s Time to Celebrate: Happy Cinco de Mayo!
By Megan Jones:
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today is a holiday most known as a colorful celebration and to enjoy food and drink rooted in Mexican culture. However, the history is less known. Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates the Mexican victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862—not Mexico’s Independence Day as many believe. Today, let’s celebrate and learn the history of Cinco de Mayo!
The History Of Cinco De Mayo
Cinco de Mayo, is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla that occurred on May 5th, 1862. Prior, Mexico had been receiving loans from England, France and Spain. But, in 1861, Mexico declared a temporary halt in repaying this debt, to focus more on domestic affairs. With the dismissal of repaying this debt, England, France and Spain planned an invasion.
But, after negotiations with England and Spain, both countries withdrew their forces. However, France refused. The French monarch, Napoleon III had an ulterior motive. He wanted to pursue the battle in attempt to overthrow the Mexican republic and establish a monarchy. This led to the Battle of Puebla.
The Battle of Puebla was led by the Mexican General Igancio Zaragoza and two thousand, trained troops, local civilians and Zacapoaxatla Indians. They fought against six thousand French cavalrymen and infantry and were victorious. Their victory at Puebla became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination and the celebration began.
The Celebration of Cinco de Mayo
Initially, Cinco de Mayo was not celebrated nationally, it was solely celebrated in Puebla, Mexico. However, in the 1960’s a few Cinco de Mayo festivals could be found in the United States. But, by the 1980’s, it became nationally celebrated. Today Cinco de Mayo is also a celebration for encouraging pride of Mexican heritage.
How Can We All Celebrate?
- Read and share the history: Take this as an opportunity to learn more about the history of the holiday! It isn’t about celebrating independence, it is about celebrating the ability to stand up to strong forces.
- Support Mexican Businesses: Show your support by going to Mexican owned businesses.
- Eat the food!: Food is such a large part of the Mexican culture, and it can be one of the best ways to celebrate. Additionally, today provides a wonderful opportunity to try new restaurants in your area.
Enjoy the celebrations today, share the history and importance of today and enjoy delicious food!
- Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2021, March 5). Cinco de Mayo. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Cinco-de-Mayo
- Carlson, A. W. (1998). America’s growing observance OF Cinco de Mayo. The Journal of American Culture, 21(2), 7-16. doi:10.1111/j.1542-734x.1998.00007.x
- Williams, C., & Editors, H. (2020, May 05). How to celebrate Mexican FOOD respectfully ON Cinco De Mayo. Retrieved May 05, 2021, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/cinco-de-mayo-traditional-mexican-food_au_5eafc980c5b69a79551a266f
- Emily VanSchmus March 04, VanSchmus, E., & Anonymous. (2021, March 04). How to celebrate cinco de mayo respectfully this year. Retrieved May 05, 2021, from https://www.bhg.com/holidays/traditions/celebrate-cinco-de-mayo-respectfully/