History of Cinco de Mayo

The Battle of Puebla

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the day of the Mexican army’s victory in 1862 over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. The day is May 5, also known as Battle of Puebla Day. The battle lasted “from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated.” Almost 500 soldiers had been lost. In the battle fewer than 100 Mexicans were killed. Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, partly “because they identified with the victory of Indigenous Mexicans over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla.” Mexico was invaded by European troops because they were broke. Mexico was originally less prepared than France because France had more soldiers.



Where it is celebrated

Cinco de mayo is a minor holiday in Mexico. In the United States Cinco de Mayo has “evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.” So in other words Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated in the United States than in Mexico. Independent day and cinco de mayo are different holidays, not the same, a popular misconception.

The State Press


How it is celebrated

Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans it is a normal day because it is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks, and stores remain open. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by Mexican Americans with parades, food, and festive dressing. Typical food for the holiday include tacos and guacamole.

Santa Ynez Valley Star