Is it just one big Nationwide party?
Cinco de Mayo is a big party with margaritas, beer, guacamole, tacos, big sombreros hats that lasts all day long…in the USA.
But, here in Mexico, it’s a minor holiday not really celebrated much.
Many people think it’s Mexico Independence Day but that is on September 16th, back in 1810, when Mexico became independent away from Spain.
What is it really?
What it is actually is a remembrance of Mexico’s victory over the French during the 1862 Battle of Puebla. An outnumbered Mexican army defeated the invading French forces at the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles during the Franco-Mexico War. The retreat of the French troops represented a huge victory for the people of Mexico. It symbolizing the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty against a powerful foreign nation.
The first American Cinco de Mayo celebrations date back to the 1860swhen Mexicans living in California commemorated the victory over France in Puebla. At that time, the United States was in its own Civil War. News of the underdog Mexican army beating back Napoleon III’s forces gave new strength to California’s Latinos, who sought to stop the advances of the Confederate army.
The tradition of celebrating Cinco de Mayo has continued in Los Angeles without interruption since 1862 although the original reason and the history have gotten lost.
A century later, Chicano activists rediscovered the holiday and look at it as a symbol of ethnic pride.
But the party-filled Cinco de Mayo that Americans celebrate today didn’t become popular until U.S. beer companies began targeting the Spanish-speaking population in the 1970s and 1980s.
Today, Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. is primarily a celebration of Mexican-American Hispanic heritage, with the largest event in Los Angeles California. Something to be proud of for Hispanics but mostly a US-American tradition now.
On local groups, if you post Happy Cinco de Mayo with beer gifs you’ll get a few comments about how that’s the USA, not Mexico.