When is Cinco de Mayo?
Every May 5th Americans across the US take the opportunity to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with parades, parties, mariachi music, folk dancing, Mexican food and of course, margaritas.
What is Cinco de Mayo?
-Cinco de mayo history
Happy Cino de Mayo!
But what really happened on the 5th of May and what are we really celebrating?
For starters it’s not Mexican Independence Day like many people mistakenly believe. Mexico actually celebrates it’s independence on September 16th.
Instead, Cinco de Mayo commemorates an event that happened some fifty years after Mexico won it’s independence.
In 1861 Mexican President Benito Juárez declared that his country was too poor to pay it’s debts to foreign nations, prompting France to invade Mexico and make it a French territory. But when French troops approached the town of Puebla on May 5th 1862, a ragtag band of Mexican troops managed to defeat them, despite being outnumbered two to one.
Though it ultimately failed to halt the French advance on Mexico City, the victory became a symbol of Mexican resistance against French imperialism. With US support, the Mexicans were eventually able to push out the French for good and restore Juárez to power. By that time the Cinco de Mayo spirit had spread to the United States.
Soon after the victory in Puebla Americans of Mexican heritage used the day as inspiration for the union struggle in the Civil War. Americans in the midst of Civil War were inspired by the Mexican victory and began celebrating the 5th of May with parades, dances, speeches, banquets and bullfights.
Today, Cinco de Mayo is actually a bigger holiday in the US than in Mexico, where it’s mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla. So when you raise your glass on Cinco de Mayo, take an extra moment to honour the surprisingly American history behind this Mexican holiday.
Modern day Cinco de Mayo and how it is celebrated in America in 2013:
Many Americans and Mexican Americans will associate modern day Cinco de Mayo as a day the streets will be flooded with margaritas and traditional mexican music, dance and culture will spill out on to the streets at certain fiesta street parties and well in to the night. It is a day and night of celebration and a good enough reason to open that bottle of tequila that has being collecting dust at home.
We recommend getting in to the full swing of the festival and don’t feel left out if you don’t know any traditional Mexican dances (nothing that the tequila can’t fix) it’s also occasion where you can dress up in Mexican costume, whether you want to wear a poncho, sombrero or even a charro mariachi costume it’s completely up to you and will all be part of the festivities of the night – just don’t forget your maracas.
If you are wondering exactly what to expect at the hundreds of street parties that happen around America on Cinco de Mayo then we have some videos below where you can see some of the action from previous years and remember if you are struggling to find that Mexican outfit you are after, just take a look at our extensive range of Mexican costumes at our online store. Viva la Mexico.