Cinco de Mayo, (Spanish: “Fifth of May”), is a holiday that celebrates the Mexican army’s victory at Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.
Cinco de Mayo is not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, which falls on September 16.
Why was there a battle?
In 1861, after years of strife, the newly elected president of Mexico declared a temporary moratorium on the repayment of foreign debts because there was virtually no money in the treasury. Mexico owed tens of millions of dollars to foreign debtors.
In retaliation, the English, Spanish, and French invaded the country.
By April 1862, only the French remained, attempting to establish control and deter the US power in North America.
On May 5, 1862, a relatively small army of locals defeated French troops in the one-day Battle of Puebla. The win represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and people.
By the mid 20th century, the celebration continued in the US among Mexican immigrants to encourage pride in their Mexican legacy.
Today the date is more widely enjoyed by many as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, and traditional foods.
Some of the largest festivals are in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.
Have a margarita and drive carefully.