Cinco De Mayo History

Cinco de Mayo is observed as a regional holiday in some parts of Mexico and the United States, to immortalize the Mexican army's improbable victory over the French at the battle of Puebla.
| Thursday, June 03, 2010
“If you think you can win, you can. Faith is necessary to victory.” -  William Hazlitt

Meaning of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo means 'Fifth of May' in the Spanish language. The celebration is a tribute to the Mexican pride and heritage. Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken to be Mexico’s Independence Day, which is not the fact. The day is more like a festival wherein people celebrate in enthusiasm with food, beverages, music, parades etc.

Prior to the Puebla war, Mexico faced civil wars, economic losses and bloodshed. Cinco de Mayo History begins in 1861 when the Mexicans president, Benito Juarez, refused to make the interest payments to the countries from whom they had taken loans. France was one of those countries, because of which the French decided upon invading Mexico. The invasion initially showed the signs of success for France but ultimately became a failure at the battle of Puebla on 5th May 1862. Thousands of Mexicans lost their lives in this war against the French.The war marked the beginning of a national self-esteem in the minds of the people. Mexico was further supported by the United States in the war. That is the reason why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico as well as in the United States.

Cinco de Mayo Significance

  • In the battle of Puebla the number of Mexican army men was half that of the French and more over the French army was much better equipped than the Mexican army.
  • The battle had been so remarkably fought by the Mexicans that since then, no European nation have dared to invade America.

Eventhough 5th May is an important day for Mexico, it is not widely celebrated. The day is more popular in the United States not only among the Mexicans living there but also people of different backgrounds.

Cinco de Mayo celebrations are full of fun and enthusiasm and reflect the fabulous triumph of Mexicans over the French army, which had not seen defeat since 50 years. Tourists from all around the world make it a point to witness this celebration every year. The events in the celebration include carnivals, street fairs, games, music concerts, activities for children, sports, cultural displays and food festivities etc. In USA there is a multi-day celebration of the patriotic day. People play varieties of music like rock, jazz, salsa and Mexican regional music. The different parts of the United States celebrate the days in different fashions. Unique competitions are organized for people to participate like Air guitar competition, beer drinking competition, skydiving etc. Popular patriotic songs can be heard in all directions, to make the environment live. Schools organize activities like handicraft making, coloring competitions, singing and dancing competitions, quiz competitions etc for the children to participate and have fun.

The tradition of Mexico is in full bloom on this day because of the extravagance of Mexican traditional music, dance and cuisines. The people pledge for their belongingness and loyalty towards their country. A sense of patriotism is spread all over.

Cinco de Mayo decorations are as much fun as the celebrations. Floral decorations are seen all over. Flowers are made out of tissues, depicting the colors of the Mexican flag. There are displays of large sized cut-outs of Mexican warriors. Balloons and flags are visible around everywhere. Banners are displayed with messages written over them.