May 21, 2024

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Fiesta Time! What is Cinco de Mayo and Why Do We Celebrate in the US?

2 min read
Unwrap the truth behind Cinco de Mayo! It's not Mexican Independence Day, but a celebration of Mexican heritage in the US. Discover the battle's history, how it's observed, and why it's a day to fiesta!
Fiesta Time

Fiesta Time! What is Cinco de Mayo and Why Do We Celebrate in the US?

Every year on May 5th, cities across the US erupt in a vibrant celebration of Mexican culture. Flags wave, mariachi music fills the air, and the aroma of delicious food fills the streets. But what exactly are we celebrating? Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “Fifth of May”) is not Mexican Independence Day, which falls on September 16th.

So, what’s the story behind the fiesta? Let’s travel back to 1862. Mexico, facing financial hardship, suspended payments on loans owed to European countries. In response, France sent a military force to collect the debt by force. On May 5th, a vastly outnumbered Mexican army under General Ignacio Zaragoza achieved a stunning victory against the French at the Battle of Puebla. This underdog triumph became a symbol of Mexican resilience and national pride.

While the French ultimately prevailed in the war, the victory at Puebla resonated deeply. In the 20th century, Mexican-Americans in the US began to hold celebrations on May 5th to commemorate their heritage and express solidarity with their homeland. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s further fueled the popularity of Cinco de Mayo as a day to celebrate Mexican culture and identity.

Today, Cinco de Mayo in the US has evolved into a vibrant celebration of Mexican food, music, art, and traditions. It’s a day to savor delicious tacos, sip on margaritas, and immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of Mexican culture. From bustling parades and lively music festivals to traditional dance performances and art exhibits, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So, this May 5th, grab your friends and family, and head out to your local Cinco de Mayo celebration. Enjoy the delicious food, the infectious music, and the chance to learn more about a rich and fascinating culture. After all, that’s what makes America great – the beautiful blend of heritages that come together to create a vibrant national tapestry.


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