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Thousands of people will be relishing in all things Mexican this weekend as countries around the world celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The Mexican holiday commemorates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.

Today, whilst it’s a relatively minor occasion in Mexico, in the US, Cinco de Mayo is a large, joyous celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Cinco de Mayo literally translates to mean “Fifth of May,” so is celebrated on this date every year to mark the Battle of Puebla. 

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What is this celebration about?

Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla (May 5,1862) during the Franco-Mexican War. The day, which falls on Thursday, May 5 in 2022, is also known as Battle of Puebla Day

While Cinco de Mayo is acknowledged and celebrated in Mexico, it is not treated as federal holiday. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo celebrations began the following year in 1863, in the southern border states like California. Fifteen years before the Battle of Puebla, California and other southwestern states were formerly Mexico.

Mexican citizens were made U.S. citizens overnight by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In Indiana, as early as 1910, Mexican nationals who were attending Notre Dame University were preparing to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in South Bend with a “monster banquet” contribuiting in the spread of the festivity.


How is it celebrated?

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations. Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of Indigenous Mexicans (such as Juárez) over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla.

Today, revelers mark the occasion with paradespartiesmariachi musicMexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

Attention! Don't confuse it with the Mexican Independence Day!

Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla.

Independence Day in Mexico (Día de la Independencia) is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores,” referring to the city of Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

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