Despite being a day of celebration, it’s important to remember that Cinco de Mayo is an important, historical symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination. The Battle of Puebla, while not a major tactical victory, not only boosted morale, but also became a symbol of Mexico’s cultural pride, courage, and resilience.
#1 Cindo De Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day.
Cinco de Mayo, aka: the Fifth of May, aka: El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla) shouldn’t be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day. Rather, it commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s extraordinary military victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th in 1862.
#2 The Mexican army overcame incredible odds to gain the victory.
The Mexican forces were quite the ragtag bunch of Mestizo and Zapotec peoples led by General Ignacio Zaragoza. They were not nearly as fortified as the French. It was by pure endurance and bravery in the face of defeat, that the Mexican army forced nearly 6,000 French troops to retreat, thus gaining the victory.
#3 A memorial still stands for those who fought in the Battle of Puebla.
The battle occurred in the city of Puebla (later named Puebla de Zaragoza), located just southwest of Mexico City. Pueblo de Zaragoza still stands to this day. You’ll find both a museum and battlefield-turned-park there honoring those who fought.
#4 Cinco de Mayo, while traditionally a Mexican holiday, is celebrated around the world.
While Cinco de Mayo may seem like it’s mostly celebrated here in the US, it’s also celebrated in Mexico City with reenactments of the battle, parades, and speeches. It’s also celebrated in different countries around the world, including: Brisbane, AU, Malta, and the Cayman Islands.
#5 Cinco de Mayo is an official US Holiday.
President Roosevelt helped popularize Cinco de Mayo celebrations with his Good Neighbor Policy in 1933. With this diplomacy, Roosevelt helped improve relations with both Central and South Americas. In 2005, Cinco de Mayo was made an official US Holiday.
Information Cited from the Encyclopaedia Britannica.