Just saying the words, Cinco de Mayo brings a smile to most people’s faces because it’s synonymous with a fiesta. But have you ever wondered what Cinco de Mayo even is? Here’s the background on this holiday and some fun and creative ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your friends and family.
What is Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo means Fifth of May in Spanish. It’s a Mexican holiday widely celebrated in the U.S. Many people mistakenly believe it honors Mexican Independence Day, but that’s actually on September 16.
Instead, Cinco de Mayo honors a Mexican military victory on May 5, 1862, over Napoleon’s French forces in Puebla, a city southeast of Mexico City. The city of Puebla celebrates Cinco de Mayo every year to honor Mexico’s unlikely victory and those who fought and died in the battle. There, it’s a day full of parades, festivities, and reenactments of the battle.
Aside from Puebla, Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated much in other parts of Mexico, but Americans have embraced the day. Around the 1960s, Mexican immigrants in the U.S. began celebrating the day to encourage pride in their Mexican heritage. It’s become the biggest annual celebration of Mexican-American culture in the U.S.