5 De Mayo A Great American Holiday

Cinco de Mayo will look wildly different from previous years.

Social distancing will provide the perfect opportunity to brush up on the history of the holiday. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla wher the Mexican Army defeated France, but it’s really not a major holiday in Mexico. People think that it is Mexican Independence Day, but that’s actually celebrated in September.

Mexico had lost several wars during the 1800s, which led to bankruptcy, and unable to fulfill loans to European countries. May 5th marks the day of Mexico’s major victory over the French in the Battle of the Puebla; when France sought both money and land as re-payment.

Mexican Independence Day is September 16. Mexicans celebrate with festive decorations and parades in town plazas across the country, and of course traditional foods and tequila.

In Mexico Cinco de Mayo is celebrated regionally in the state of Puebla with parades, speeches and re-enactments of the 1862 battle, but in other parts of the country the holiday goes largely unnoticed. Fighting in Mexico continued for many years after 1862, but this victory over the French army at Puebla became a true symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination and over the years.

Photos by Getty Images

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