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Cinco de Mayo

Also 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 mejicanas" (Mexican patriotic assemblies) deliberately promoted it to the general public.

Battle of Puebla

Cinco 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 5, 1862.

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 Confederacy. 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 Mexico 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.

A Celebration of Mexican Culture

While not an official holiday in either the U.S, or Mexico, Cinco de Mayo 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 folklórico, and mariachi demonstrations - and commercial interests selling everything from beans to beer.


A 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.

Fiesta Photo Prop

Rainbow Donkey Pinata
Fiesta Paper Fan Decorations


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