Do You Know Why We Celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

BlogHer Original Post

It’s Cinco de Mayo! Time to celebrate Mexico’s biggest holiday with sombreros and two-for-one margaritas, right? While the occasion is one big fiesta in the United States, it’s not that way in Mexico. While I love tacos and margaritas as much as the next gal, I think it's also important to understand the history behind this event. Our friends at Mamiverse have an explanation of the battle that the event commemorates:

Cinco de Mayo is a commercial holiday in the U.S.—one that is used to sell beer and tortilla chips, advertise dinner specials at restaurants and offers a good reason for Mexican-themed parties at colleges everywhere. In Mexico, however, Cinco de Mayo isn’t even a federal holiday. The date commemorates May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army defeated the much larger French army that had invaded Mexico at Veracruz and was making its way to Mexico City. But the Mexican victory at the Batalla de Puebla was short lived. French troops continued to press on and a year later the French took Mexico City, and occupied the country for the next three years under the rule of Emperor Maximilian I, who was handpicked for the job by Napoleon III.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Note: Cinco de Mayo marks the defeat of the French army, but not the creation of Mexico as it's own country. That event is marked in September, celebrating Mexico's freedom from Spain. How much do you know about the story behind Cinco de Mayo? Do you plan do anything this weekend?

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.

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