CINCO DE MAYO – Celebrated on Fifth of May

Cinco De Mayo has a celebration held annually on the Fifth of May. It has observed to celebrate the victory of the Mexican army over the French army at the Battle of Puebla. This battle took place on the Fifth of May,1862. More popularly celebrated in the United States than in Mexico, the festival has evolved into a celebration of Mexican-American culture. In Mexico, the commemoration of this battle continues to be mostly ceremonial, has celebrated through military parades and battle re-enactments.

CINCO DE MAYO
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History and significance of CINCO DE MAYO

Often confused with Mexican Independence Day, Cinco De Mayo is the celebration of the unlikely. Win of the Zaragoza led the Mexican army over the French army in the Battle of Puebla. Mexico, at that time, indebted to France, Spain, and Britain had managed to negotiate a deal with Britain and Spain. This led to the two countries withdrawing their forces from Mexico (which were there to demand repayment). However, France, then ruled by Napoleon the Third, decided to use the opportunity to carve out an empire out of the Mexican territory, which led to the battle of Puebla.

The battle of Puebla has fought between six thousand men. A strong French army under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez and the Zaragoza led two thousand men strong Mexican forces. The Mexican troops managed to fortify the small town. And fighting leading to the retreat of the French Army with minimal losses to the Mexican Army.

Popularity in the United States

The celebrations became popular in America, specifically California, where they have been celebrated for decades. The day, however, gained nationwide popularity in the 1980s owing to advertising campaigns by beer and wine companies. It has said that Cinco de Mayo generated Beer sales on par with the super bowl.

Celebrations

In Mexico, the day has celebrated in a more commemorative manner than its American counterpart. Though primarily observed in the state of Puebla, the festival has also celebrated in other parts of the country. Traditions include parades with brightly colored floats and piñatas, recreations of the Battle of Puebla (where participants dress up as French and Mexican soldiers), and other festive events. During the festival, the city of Puebla, hosts the Festival International del Mole, a two-day festival where celebrity chefs discuss and prepare Puebla’s most iconic dish, Mole poblano. A popular drink served during this festival is the agua fresco, which is flavored water combined with fruits, seeds, and flowers. 

Mexico City hosts a big parade with dancing, singing, and re-enactments where almost everyone has dressed in long flowing traditional Mexican dresses or Mexican pantsuits with bright sombreros. Contrary to popular belief, it is, however, not a federal holiday in Mexico, so office, banks, and stores do remain open.

In the United States, the festival is more of a celebration of Mexican American Culture. First introduced during the Civil Rights Movements by American Mexicans as a source of pride, the day has evolved into a commemoration from an earnest show of patriotism. The day is celebrated with festive dresses, parades, drinks, and food, which mainly include popular Mexican dishes like tacos, among others.

Also read, Chuseok

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