known as "5th
of May", Cinco
de Mayo is
observed primarily in the
United States as a celebration of Mexican
heritage and pride. According to David E. Hayes-Bautista, author of "El
Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition,"
the holiday was created
during the Civil War era, and now commemorated because Latino
groups in California known as the "juntas patrióticas
(Mexican patriotic assemblies) deliberately promoted it to the general
|Battle of Puebla
de Mayo commemorates
a battle won by Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza
Seguín against French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May
France's invasion of Mexico - which paralleled the American Civil War -
was an attempt to colonize the former Spanish colony with a puppet
government and possibly align the new regime with the
Had the French achieved victory, the length of Mexico's colonization
and the outcome of the U.S. Civil War might have been different.
The battle at Puebla delayed the French invasion of
City, which occurred a year later when the French occupied Mexico and
placed Maximilian I on the throne of Mexico. The French forces were
eventually defeated and expelled from Mexico in 1867.
Celebration of Mexican Culture
While not an official holiday in either the U.S, or Mexico, Cinco
is observed in many
cities with large Mexican populations of Mexican ancestry as a
celebration of Mexican culture. Celebrations tend to draw both
from traditional Mexican symbols, - such as the Virgin
de Guadalupe, ballet
demonstrations - and commercial interests selling everything from beans
common misconception of Cinco de Mayo is that it is a celebration of
Mexico's independence. The country's Independence Day is actually
celebrated on September 16, a date known as Grito de Dolores.
Cinco de Mayo is hardly recognized at all in Mexico outside of the
state of Puebla where the 1862 Battle of Puebla took place.