Cinco de Mayo

As it is commonly confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration of of Mexico’s unlikely victory at the battle of Puebla against France during the Franco-Mexican War that took place throughout the 1860’s. The battle took place in 1862, and was a massive victory in Mexico’s war effort against France. French forces outnumbered Mexico’s Texas-born General, Ignacio Zaragoza, and his 2000 troops who were stationed at Puebla. After defending the city for nearly a full day, about 500 French troops fell while Mexican casualties were at about 100. This led to the French retreat and a victory that lit a spark in the Mexican war effort that would last another 5 years.

Though it is highly celebrated in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is actually not a major celebration in Mexico. It is primarily celebrated in the city in which the battle took place, Puebla, but is not even a national holiday. Americans have seemed to take more interest in the day in more recent years to celebrate Mexican heritage, especially in largely Mexican heritage-heavy populated areas. Again, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexican Independence Day, which lies on September 16, 1810, more than 50 years before the battle at Puebla.