For many Americans, Cinco de Mayo means enjoying Mexican food and probably a few margaritas. But Cinco de Mayo, which means May 5 in Spanish, is probably one of the most misunderstood Mexican holidays. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day. Mexican independence is celebrated Sept.16.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French forces of Napoleon III on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. The reason for this battle was because Mexico had trouble paying back war debts to European countries, and France decided to visit Mexico to collect that debt.
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo has become more of an American holiday than a Mexican one. But most non-Mexican Americans have no idea about the day’s history. Many just take it as a day to get drunk and even call it Cinco de Drink-o. If anyone, where to go to a bar on Cinco de Mayo and ask ‘What’s this day about?’, they would be clueless. This is mainly because they only care about the holiday were they can socialize and get plastered but not the history. Sadly this can’t even be blamed on the over excessive alcohol consumption either.
Cinco de Mayo is a reminder of how many times Mexico has been invaded by other countries but won this battle which gave hope to its people.
Here is more information on what Cinco de Mayo is truly about: