Cinco de Mayo traces its holiday roots back to when France and Mexico were fighting each other. France had invaded Mexico, and in 1862 General Ignacio Zaragoza led his troops against the French troops at the Battle of Puebla. (I promise this is not just a history lesson.) General Zaragoza was not expected to win, but it was a clear victory for Mexico. It’s one of those amazing underdog stories, of someone beating the odds and coming out on top. Coincidentally, the Battle of Puebla was won on . . . you guessed it . . . May 5.
Some people believe that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, but that’s not the case. Mexico celebrates its independence in September. Cinco de Mayo took on new layers and new meanings over the years. It’s been used as a rallying cry, and now it also has a lot to do with celebrating and appreciating Hispanic culture. The holiday also made its way out of Mexico to be celebrated in other countries. CNN explains, “In the 1960s and 1970s, the day became identified with the Chicano rights movement in the United States, especially in the state of California.”
So how are you planning to celebrate this fifth of May and spend some time appreciating strong cultural heritage? We’d love to know your plans!
Hispanic Heritage Foundation
Learn more about the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.