What is Cinco de Mayo?

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Cinco de Mayo means “Fifth of May” when directly translated into English. This refers to a holiday celebrated by the Mexicans to commemorate the Battle of Puebla that occurred on May 5, 1862. In the year 1861, a massive army was sent by the French to invade Mexico, and because the French army was bigger and better than the Mexicans, they were able to make their way through the road to Mexico City. However, when they were able to reach Puebla, the Mexicans stood up against them and unexpectedly won the battle.

Even if their victory against the French was short-lived because the opposing army was able to regroup and successfully occupy Mexico City, this event is still commemorated every fifth of May because the euphoria of winning a battle against all odds is one of a kind.

One common misconception about Cinco de Mayo is that this is the Independence Day of the Mexicans. However, in reality, the Mexicans celebrate their independence every September 16. It was on this day that Father Miguel Hidalgo was able to lead an army that overthrew the Spaniards in 1810.

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Puebla, where the battle took place, as well as in many cities in the United States where a huge part of the population are Mexicans. This holiday is celebrated by organizing parades, festivals, and some dancing. The town squares are filled with Mariachi bands, and traditional Mexican dishes are sold. Additionally, Mexican beers, such as Dos Equis and Corona, are also served.

Cinco de Mayo is regarded as the St. Patrick’s Day of the Mexicans, and is a fun holiday which portrays their way of life. In schools in the USA, children also decorate their classrooms and try cooking some of the basic Mexican dishes. Furthermore, restaurants all over the world which specialize in Mexican cuisine offer specials and present Mariachi bands during this special day.

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