Cinco De Mayo Date: May 5
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico as a public holiday.
Cinco de Mayo, translated as the 5th of May, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico. This day is marked to celebrate the victory where a small outnumbered Mexican army troops over a full army of the French at the Battle of Puebla. It is a holiday celebrated mostly in Puebla. It is not celebrated much in other states of Mexico. The festival has its own fan fare in the United States which has a notable presence of Mexicans. The festival in the United States of America is to celebrate the Mexican culture and the holiday in Mexico is to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Puebla.
Cinco de Mayo History:
Mexico had got independence from their Spanish rulers after many bloody battles in the year of 1821. After this there were a series of internal turmoil’s and the Civil War in Mexico in the year 1858 had left the economy in ruins. In order to rebuild the country Mexico had become indebted to many countries such as England, Spain and France. In order to collect back their debts the Spanish, English and the French came back to Mexico. The Spanish and the English quickly made deals and left for their country. But the French had other plans. During that time the French had been expanding their empire under the regime of Napoleon. They were eager to expand their rule into Mexico also. Subsequently Mexico stopped making payments to France and the French used this opportunity to expand their empire.
The Battle of Puebla
The eight thousand men strong French army invaded from the gulf coast of Mexico near Veracruz and began their march towards the Mexican Capital. The Mexican army encountered stiff resistance at Puebla at the place of the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. A Small little equipped Mexican Army of about four thousand men commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza. The French Army was never defeated in battle in the last fifty years. But in the Battle of Puebla the French were beaten by an ill equipped army only half their strength. This happened on the 5th of May 1862.
The Aftermath of The Battle of Puebla
Unfortunately for the Mexicans the victory was short – lived. On hearing of the French Army’s failure Napoleon III sent up a 30,000 strong army to conquer Mexico. A year later, the French Army was able to defeat Mexican Army and installed Maximillan as the ruler of Mexico. This victory was too only till 1867. The United States had by then recovered from the civil war. They began supplying the rebels with weapons to fight the French. The Mexican rebels at last finally killed Maximillan. His bullet ridden shirt still hangs in the Museum at Mexico City.
Celebration of Victory
Though the military victory at Puebla in 1862 was very short lived, the Mexicans in the state of Puebla celebrate this with great vigor. They celebrate the story of the small little armed Mexican Army’s victory over the fully equipped French Army.
Cinco de Mayo Traditions and Activities:
While the celebration of the festival in Mexico is in itself highly sparse the Americans take immense pleasure in celebrating this festival. Cinco de Mayo is also celebrated in the states of the US bordering with Mexico. In these places the celebrations are just a celebration of the Mexican Culture of Beverage, food, music and customs. Commercial interests have also played an important role in advertizing the holiday in Mexico and the US. It has become a holiday with celebrations of music, food and beverages.
Cinco de Mayo is also known as:
- Battle of Puebla
- The day Mexico defeated the French Army.