is a cultural phenomenon in the United States. ItБs a time to celebrate
culture and, for some, an opportunity to drink a lot of margaritas and cerveza. But it is also a frequently misunderstood holiday. For those out of the loop, hereБs a refresher on what Cinco de Mayo is all about. What exactly is Cinco de Mayo? People often mistake Cinco de Mayo for a celebration of Mexican independence. But theyБre wrong. The holiday celebrates a failed French invasion after a fledgling Mexican state defaulted on debt payments to European governments. In 1861 Mexico was suffering from financial ruin following years of internal strife. This was exploited by the French President Napoleon III, who thought it would beб a fantastic time to try and build an empire there. Mexico had defaulted on debts with Britain and Spain as well, but those two countries negotiated with the country and withdrew their navy. The French invaded Mexico in late 1861 with well-armed forces and stormed Veracruz, forcing the Mexican government and its forces to retreat into northern Mexico. Confident of further victories, French forces focused their attention on the city Puebla de Los Angeles. Anticipating the attack, Mexican President Benito Juцrez brought together a group of 2,000 men to fight back, many of whom were indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry. When the French finally attacked, on May 5, 1862, the battle lasted from daybreak to early evening. The French ended up retreating after losing almost 500 soldiers. The Mexicans lost fewer than 100.
Was the battle significant? Strategically, not really. The battle represented more of a symbolic victory for the Mexican forces and added to the resistance. French forces didnБt leave until 1867 after years of fighting. Mexicans were helped in part by the end of the Civil War, when the US was able to send their own troops to help out their besieged neighbour. So all of Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo, right? Nope. People in Pueblaб celebrate, as that\’s where the unlikely victory occurred, but the festivities aren\’t nationwide. Cinco de Mayo isnБt a federal holiday so the day is just like any other day for most people in Mexico. When does Mexico celebrate its independence? Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16. On that day in 1810, Mexican revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla made a famous call to arms for his fellow men and women to resist Spanish colonial government. б Why is it celebrated in the United States? The holiday is widely seen as a celebration of Mexican cultural heritage for America\’s growing Hispanic population. Latino activists raised awareness for the holiday in the 1960s. In large part, those early holidays in the US were a forum to celebrate the fact that a group of ragtag indigenous people were able to successfully hold back French forces. The holiday has really taken off in the US since then and people today celebrate with parades, parties, mariachi music, and traditional Mexican foods. Is Cinco de Mayo particularly significant this year?
Donald TrumpБs election has bred some uncertainty and fear amongst some people of Mexican heritage in the United States. Mr Trump has favoured anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric, including a promise to deport all undocumented immigrants in the country and build a wall on the border with Mexico to keep people out. Last yearб Mr Trump tweeted out a photo of him eating a taco bowl (which is not a traditional Mexican dish) on Cinco de Mayo with the statementб БI love HispanicsБ. б Butб Mexican-Americans arenБt necessarily encouraged by that tweet or the presidentБs actual positions since, and some have said they are fearful of celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year because Mr Trump has stepped up immigration enforcement since taking office. Cinco de Mayo is a perfect time to celebrate Mexican culture and history. A common misconception is that this is, but that major holiday takes place in the month of September. This is just one of the. The May 5th holiday in fact commemorates a battle between Mexican and French forces that took place just outside the city ofP in 1862. On that occasion, the Mexicans triumphed over the much larger and better trained French army. This unlikely victory is a source of pride for Mexicans and is remembered every year on the anniversary of the battle. So what exactly happened to spur thePconflict between Mexico and France? PIn 1861 Mexico was facing a severe economic crisis and President Benito Juarez decided to temporarily stop payment on external debt in order to deal with the internal financial situation.
The countries Mexico was in debt to, Spain, England and France, were concerned about their payments and sent a delegation to Mexico to assess the situation. Juarez was able to resolve the issue with Spain and Britain diplomatically, and they withdrew. The French, however, had other plans. Napoleon III, realizing the strategic importance of MexicoPas a neighbor to the growing power of the United States, decided it would be useful to make Mexico into an empire that he could control. He decided to send his distant cousin, Maximilian of Hapsburg, to become emperor and rule Mexico backed up by the French army. The French military were confident they would be able to overcome the Mexicans without undue difficulty, but were surprised in Puebla, when a much smaller battalion of Mexican soldiers, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza were able to defeat them on May 5th, 1862. The war was far from over, however. More troops of French military arrived and eventually took over, sending Benito Juarez government into exile. Maximilian and his wife Carlota, daughter of the king of Belgium Leopold I, arrived in Mexico to rule as emperor and empress in 1864. Benito Juarez never stopped his political activities during this period, but he moved his government north, to what is now known as Ciudad Juarez. Juarez received support from the United States who didn t like the idea of a European-style monarchy as their southern neighbor. Maximilian s government held until Napoleon III withdrew French troops from Mexico in 1866, and Juarez returned triumphant to resume his presidency in Mexico City.
Cinco de Mayo became a source of inspiration for Mexicans during the French occupation. As a moment in which Mexicans had shown courage and determination in the face of a major colonial European power, it came to be a symbol of Mexican pride, unity and patriotism and the occasion is remembered every year. Cinco de Mayo is an optional : students have the day off from school, but whether banks and government offices close will vary from state to state. Celebrations in Puebla, where the legendary battle took place, outshine those held elsewhere in Mexico. In Puebla the event is commemorated with parades and a battle reenactment. Learn more about. It comes as a surprise to many Mexicans when they find out that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with such fanfare in the United States. North of the border, this has become the main day for celebrating Mexican culture, particularly in communities that have large Hispanic populations. Learn about some of the facts behindP. Sometimes the best way to celebrate is by throwing your own party – that way you can arrange everything to your personal tastes. A Mexican-themed fiesta can be great fun for people of all ages. Whether you re planning a small get-together or a major party, there are many resources to help you get your party planning just right. From invitations to food, music and decorations, here are some resources for throwing a.