The history behind Cinco de Mayo celebration

What are we celebrating?


Traditional Mexican folk dancers performing during a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Gabby Ramirez, Staff Writer

For many Americans, Cinco de Mayo is an annual holiday to enjoy Mexican food and have a party. But Cinco de Mayo is so much more than that and it is one of the most misunderstood holidays. Most people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s independence day but it is not. Mexico’s independence day is on September 16th. Cinco  de Mayo is celebrating a different victory. 

On May 5th, 1862 the French army was on the way to Mexico City. Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to expand French rule and decided to take over Mexico. Bonaparte sent troops down to Mexico City but they never made it. The troops got to the city of Puebla and then the battle started. 

A Mexican general named  Ignacio Zaragoza beat back the French troops in a bloody conflict. The battle lasted from sunrise to sunset. Mexico was the underdog that pulled through. The French had lost over 500 soldiers while Mexico had only lost around 100 soldiers. 

Many Mexican Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo with festive dressing, parades, and lots of good food. This significant holiday is celebrated in many places by many people, and it is important for everyone to know the history behind the festivities.