You may notice a few people walking the downtown street tonight in sumbreros yelling for more cervesas. But there is more to this holiday then the margaritas and mariachis.
Contrary to belief, the Cinco de Mayo celebration does not mark Mexico’s Independence Day, which is on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo translates to the fifth of May.
On May 5, 1892, the Mexican army, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, against all odds defeated the French Forces at the Battle of Puebla.
Time Magazine says:
The Puebla victory came to symbolize unity and pride for what seemed like a Mexican David defeating a French Goliath.
However, the Mexican victory didn’t last long. A year later, 30,000 French troups were able to depose the Mexican army, capture Mexico City and establish a new ruler of Mexico, Emperor Maximilian the first. But even the French victory was cut short. After three years, the French were defeated by Mexican troops with the help of U.S. troops.
But how has it travelled the 2,576 miles to North America? In the 1940s, Cinco de Mayo started to appear in Vogue. Not long after, beer and liquor companies started to take advantage of the holiday and to try and tap in to the hispanic market. And thus, a drinking holiday was created.
So the next time you are drinking tequila and wearing a sombrero, think of the Mexican pride on the day Mexico defeated the French.