You’ve likely had a glimpse of (and may have even poured a salty glass in celebration of) the festival called Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth day of May, which is why it’s about time you knew a bit more about this celebration.
Check out these fascinating Cinco de Mayo facts to take advantage of the celebration with some knowledge to your thigh.
Cinco De Mayo Facts
Cinco of Mayo is usually celebrated throughout the United States with jubilant street celebrations that draw large crowds.
Let’s read more Cinco De Mayo Facts below!
Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day
The widespread assumption is it is a colossal mistake that, although Mexico did win a significant victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, this victory served more as a motivational boost than a strategic victory. However, when the battle of Puebla occurred, Mexico had already enjoyed more than 50 years of its independence from Spain. It was a victory after the end of an 11-year war on September 16, 1810.
In the case of Cinco de Mayo, this celebration is merely to commemorate one battle. The underdog was able to win a defeat against French troops, who saw Mexico’s debt unpaid in the form of an excuse to conquer and expand the empire of Napoleon’s colonial rulers. What is the reason one battle gains the status of a symbol with lasting significance? The Mexican army was adamantly outnumbered with low supplies, yet nevertheless, they were able to win. The victory was so significant that it’s considered the reason for revitalizing that resistance group. (How’s this for a short historical lesson?)
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Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday in Mexico.
Even though the celebrations are held within the Mexican city of Puebla (where the historic victory took place) with military parades and various other events on the streets, Cinco de Mayo is not considered a significant celebration throughout the rest of Mexico except a battle recreated. In reality, Cinco de Mayo is an event that is more prominent within America. The United States, particularly in regions with significant Mexican communities. In Mexico, the celebration is not recognized by the federal government. It’s the same as every other day for Cinco de Mayo in Mexico because stores, banks, and almost everything else is still in operation.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations came to the states due to FDR.
So, how did this day of celebration of another nation’s history turn into an annual celebration in the United States? We’re glad you were curious. It turns out that we have good old-fashioned diplomacy. Be grateful for the states-side Cinco de Mayo festivities. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy, passed in 1933 in order to strengthen relations with Latin American countries, set the stage to allow Cinco of Mayo to be an increasingly popular American celebration. But, Californians had jumped on the Cinco de Mayo bandwagon far earlier because of the massive number of Mexican immigrants who resided within the state.
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Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with street celebrations.
Cinco of Mayo is usually celebrated throughout the United States with jubilant street celebrations that draw large crowds. A variety of celebrations are likely to happen in the days leading up to it; however, certain festivities are more affluent than others (more on this later). Based on where you are, the day of celebration parades, live music, dancing, food, and drinks may contribute to the celebration.
Mole Poblano is the most prestigious dish for a holiday.
It’s simple enough to locate an authentic taco shop, grab an alcoholic margarita, or enjoy an enchilada (preferably one that’s as big as your face) on the day of Cinco de Mayo. Still, you may be surprised to find out there’s no way to tell which of the Mexican dishes are considered the official dish for Cinco de Mayo. To truly celebrate the day of celebration, go for a dish with mole poblano instead. This rich, dark brown sauce, made with Mexican chocolate and an abundance of spices, has incredible flavor and an amazing blend of texture. Mole Poblano comes from (you guessed the name) Puebla, the Mexican capital city Puebla in which the battle for triumph was fought.
Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston have mega celebrations.
As you would expect, certain American cities host more celebrations than others with regard to Cinco de Mayo. What is the most enjoyable celebration on May 5? Go to Los Angeles, where festivities are held on Olvera Street as well as Broadway; Chicago and Houston are also awash with celebrations. The former includes a parade in the Pilsen district in the center of town (with all the amenities of a good Cinco de Mayo celebration). Many Houston businesses join the fun with promotions for the holiday season.
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Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture in the United States.
While this holiday was originally meant to commemorate the results of The Battle of Puebla, it has taken on a more expansive significance within America. The United States. Nowadays, the holiday is now an occasion to celebrate Mexican culture, which means that you’re not likely to observe military-themed parades or reenactments of battles here. Instead, you’ll find a broad range of celebrations that reflect Mexican culture, such as dancing to eating.
The significance of the holiday is those involved in the Chicano Rights movement.
Cinco de Mayo has a position in American history that goes beyond FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy. The holiday is closely tied with that of the Chicano Rights movements during the 1970s as well as 1960s. The Chicano Rights movement used the holiday to mobilize and a catalyst for a neglected community, similar to how it was that the Battle of Puebla emboldened the Mexican resistance in 1862.
Cinco de Mayo is recognized as an official holiday in the US.
We’ve talked about this before; however, the reality lies that Cinco de Mayo is more of a holiday within the United States than it is in Mexico. Our version may be an adaptation that is not always up to par as people who celebrate generally attend to enjoy margaritas but do not understand the significance. But, with the help of George W. Bush and the people at Congress, Cinco de Mayo was declared a national holiday in the year 2005 (though people were certainly benefiting from the festivities before the official announcement).
Celebrations will be a celebration of traditional Mexican dancing and music.
As we’ve mentioned before, Cinco de Mayo in America focuses on celebrating Mexican culture. (Note this: we’re not talking about drinking margaritas out of a beer bong that has nothing to do with or has anything to do with Mexican traditions.) The most popular Cinco de Mayo celebrations will likely include the traditional Mexican mariachi songs–a form of a musical tradition in the late 19th century and is an integral part of the country’s revolutionary past. Yes, mariachi music can inspire you to dance. That’s the reason you’ll also witness dancers wearing colorfully patterned Puebla outfits performing traditional steps (i.e., “barley Folklorico”) that have their roots in Mexican Independence Day (which is on September 16, not May 5, do you remember? ).
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated all over the world.
It is interesting to note that the United States is not the only one to have made Cinco de Mayo into a celebration. It’s just that many countries enjoy a good party: Cinco of Mayo festivities are celebrated across Canada, Australia, and Japan, among others.
Americans consume and drink a lot.
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with lots of dancing, plenty of drinking, and plenty of food. At the same time, we all know that plenty of indulgences happens, and the amount of food and drinks Americans consume to celebrate this holiday may surprise you. As per Produce News, Americans from America US eat a staggering 8 million pounds worth of avocados during Cinco de Mayo. This is a lot of delicious Guacamole. Of course, you need to wash it down with the perfect margarita. That’s one of the reasons you’ll find that the International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR) also states that the US drinks more tequila than any other country on the day of celebration.