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. Happy Cinco de Mayo! There are plenty of misconceptions about the May 5 holiday. Is it Mexican Independence Day? Is it celebrated in Mexico at all or is it just a U. S. holiday? It turns out that Cinco de Mayo commemorates the day in 1862 when the Mexican army, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza, conquered the French forces of Napoleon III at the Battle of Puebla. The victory provided a significant morale boost to the Mexican people and came to serve as a symbol of the country\’s spirit and perseverance. The Battle of Puebla pitted 2,000 Mexican troops against 6,000 French.
At the end of the day, almost 500 French soldiers were killed while Mexican forces lost less than 100 men. The French retreated though it would take six more years – and more battles – to convince the French to exit Mexico. Cinco de Mayo – which literally translates to \”May 5\” – is not Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on Sept. 16, and marks the start of the war of Mexican independence from Spain. In the U. S. , Cinco de Mayo celebrations were first held in California in the 1860s, marked among the hundreds of Mexican miners who had crossed the border to work in the west. The celebration spread as Hispanic culture grew in the U. S. , getting a commercial boost in the 1980s when restaurants and bars began cashing in on the event. Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday in Mexico, though many schools close and a larger celebration is held in the State of Puebla, where the battle took place. Some of the largest celebrations in the U. S. are held in Los Angeles and in towns throughout the west. The day is commemorated with celebrations of Mexican cuisine, culture and music.