Cheers! It's Cinco de Mayo and you know what that means... or do you?
Most of us go out and celebrate with Mexican food and a margarita but do you know what you are really celebrating? Here's a hint; it's not tequila... Shocking I know. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the history of the holiday!
What does Cinco de Mayo mean?
Cinco de Mayo actually translates to 'fifth of May' and to shock you, even more, it is not Mexico's independence day. Mexico's independence day is celebrated on Sept. 16.
So, What Exactly are we Celebrating?
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s victory over France and Napoleon in the battle at Puebla during the France-Mexican war (1861-1867), according to an article on Margs.com. Mexico had been invaded many times before and they were not expected to defeat the French who had significantly more troops than them. While they did win the battle at Puebla they did not win the war but the battle at Puebla will still always be a great source of pride. This is how Cinco de Mayo got its name.
Why is it celebrated in the US?
During the events going on in Mexico, the US had just started their battle in the Civil War. The Confederacy started moving into New Mexico, Arizona, and Los Angeles only a year into the war. While in fear that they would become slaves, Latinos enrolled in the army in California.
Latinos felt they were suffering from both wars and took action so the US would not turn to slavery as Mexico had 50 years before.
So not only was the battle at Puebla a significant victory of Mexico but the US as well. It closed off access to the US that Napoleon hoped to gain to support the Confederacy in the Civil War.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo is also a part of the Good Neighbor Policy, created by Franklin Roosevelt that stated the idea that the United States would be a "good neighbor" and engage in reciprocal exchanges with Latin American countries.
Tequila May Not be the Answer, but it's Worth a Shot
You heard it here first, Cinco de Mayo is more than just a celebration of tacos. Now you have all the answers and officially know the real story about the holiday... We hope you're celebrating in the sun!