Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage, culture, and pride.
When is Cinco de Mayo celebrated?
May 5th. This is in honor of when the Mexican army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Who celebrates this day?
The day is mostly celebrated by people of Mexican heritage in the United States. It is also celebrated in some areas of Mexico, especially the state of Puebla. Many non-Mexicans in the United States celebrate the day.
What do people do to celebrate?
The day is celebrated with parades, carnivals, street fairs, and sometimes fireworks at night. There are some traditional Mexican celebrations such as the Baile Folklorico dance along with mariachi music. People dress up in traditional Mexican clothing as well. Some parades or festivals may include a reenactment of the Battle of Pueblo.
Major celebrations in the United States include:
- Chicago - A large festival is held each year in Douglas Park including live music, food, cultural displays, and games for kids.
- San Antonio - The famous Market Square is home to a huge celebration including outdoor concerts and food.
- Denver - The Cinco de Mayo Culture Festival in Denver specializes in all types of Mexican music and lasts for two days.
- San Marco - Another Texas town with a big celebration. They have a salsa contest and crown their own Miss Cinco de Mayo.
- Los Angeles - Probably the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world is held in downtown Los Angeles, California.
Many celebrations include Mexican food and music. The holiday is fairly commercial with restaurants and bars using the day to get people to come out and spend money.
History of Cinco de Mayo
The day marks a historical battle between the Mexican army and the French. The Battle of Puebla took place on May 5, 1862. The Mexicans were largely outnumbered by the French. However, led by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin they managed to hold off and defeat the French.
It is thought the day was first celebrated by Mexicans living in California during the American Civil War. The holiday became more popular in the 1960s and then became widespread in the United States with commercialization in the 1990s.
Fun Facts About Cinco de Mayo
- The 5th of May is not Mexico's Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16th.
- Not too long after winning the Battle of Pueblo, the Mexicans lost their capital to the French and the French took control of the country. The French rule only lasted a few years, however.
- The holiday is more celebrated in the United States than in Mexico.
- In Chandler, Arizona they hold Chihuahua dog races on this day.
- Around 70 million pounds of avocados are eaten on Cinco de Mayo in the US.
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