Cinco de Mayo!

Posted on | Thursday, May 5, 2011 | No Comments

I've discovered over the past quarter-century that most of the denizens of this country believe today is Mexico's independence day. In fact, it's September 16th (which so happens to also be my birthday, rather clever considering I am a quarter Hispanic). But! Cinco de Mayo does commemorate and important day -- it's the celebration of the victory of the Mexican army over invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla.

So today here are four fun and historical facts everyone should know about their favorite Mexican-inspired holiday. Enjoy!

1.) Cinco De Mayo Commemorates A Victory Over France
Mexico owed money to a number of European countries. However, in 1861 they stopped paying which obviously did not bode well. France, whose army hadn’t been defeated in 50 years, elected to force them to pay and while they were there decided taking over the country would be a grand idea. The French forces were larger, better equipped and better trained. However, on May 5, 1862, near the city of Puebla Mexicans armed with pitchforks and limited weaponry won The Battle of Puebla. Although the French ultimately won, Cinco de Mayo still commemorates that brave and unlikely battle.

2.) Cinco De Mayo Isn’t Mexico's Independence Day
The Mexican Independence Day, or “Grito de Dolores” ("Cry of Dolores"), is celebrated on September 16th, and honors Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest from the town of Dolores who declared war against the Spaniards in 1810. He ordered his church’s bells be rung and preached revolt on the steps in front. Spain didn’t recognize their independence until 1821, after nearly a decade of war. Mexicans celebrate this day with parades, ringing church bells and fiestas.

3.) Cinco De Mayo Is Celebrated In The U.S. On A Wider Scale Than In Mexico
Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico. It’s more of a regional holiday that’s celebrated primarily in and around Puebla. It first gained popularity in the U.S. during the 1950s and 1960s, due in part to the Good Neighbor policy, a U.S. government effort implemented at the time to reach out to neighboring countries. Mexican-Americans embraced the holiday as their own day to celebrate their heritage.

4.) Chandler, Arizona Celebrates Cinco De Mayo With Chihuahua Racing
Since the Mexican army stampeded a huge pack of chihuahuas in front of them when attacking the French, Chandler remembers the battle with chihuahua racing. Just kidding. The chihuahuas had nothing to do with the battle, but the races happen anyway.



Photobucket I was born and raised in California. I have also lived in Hungary, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and I will be moving again this summer. Kael is my incredibly awesome kiddo who is growing up far too quickly, and Alex is my fiance who makes me happier than should be legally allowed. I write about them a lot. I'm mildly obsessed with cooking and photography. I write about those things, too.