By Caitlin Hornik
May 5th is rapidly approaching! Learn more about Cinco de Mayo, what it means, and how it's celebrated!
Battle of Puebla
On May 5th, 1862, Mexico beat France in the Battle of Puebla. Mexico entered the battle as an underdog and maneuvered their way to an unexpected victory over the French. This day not only represents the victory, but also a moment in time when unity and determination prevailed in the face of adversity. As a result, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in parts of Mexico and the U.S. because we love underdogs (and a good party!).
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is recognized as an optional national holiday. This means that while schools are closed, the closure of banks and government offices will vary from state to state. In the State of Puebla, where the battle was held, Cinco de Mayo celebrations include parades and speeches. There are also reenactments of the Battle of Puebla. It is by far the largest display in Mexico! The celebrations commemorate Mexico’s unlikely victory that day, and the immense pride that remains.
Believe it or not, Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States are larger than in most parts of Mexico! Americans began recognizing Cinco de Mayo in 1863 to show solidarity with Mexico against the French. Over time, the day also became a great way for Mexican-Americans to develop Mexican-American awareness and pride. Today, it has become a mainstream day to celebrate Mexican culture. Many restaurants will run food and drink specials on tacos and margaritas. Some people will throw their own parties and cater to their favorite Mexican drinks and dishes!
While no one celebrates quite like the United States, other countries have begun joining in on the fun. Australia holds a Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Brisbane. Complete with mariachi bands and salsa dancing classes, the festival is held right on the Brisbane River waterfront. This year, it even features a churro eating competition! In Grand Cayman, an event is held at a local market with food, drinks, and festive music. Vancouver, Canada is another hot spot for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Events include a boat cruise, lounge parties, a world music festival, and a burrito eating challenge!