What is Cinco de Mayo? 5 Things About the May 5th Celebration: A History Lesson for the Kids


Cinco de MayoThis week is a busy one.  May 4th was Star Wars Day. On Sunday we have Mother’s Day. And today May 5th? It’s Cinco de Mayo, a celebration that is growing in popularity across our country. It’s became a day to pay homage to Mexican heritage and traditions.  But what is Cinco de Mayo beyond a good excuse to  pop open a Corona or to have tacos fro dinner>  Here are five things about Cinco de Mayo – a history lesson for the kids and you!

1) Cinco de Mayo, is not and I repeat not Mexico’s Independence Day. Mexico’s actual independence day is September 16th,which is a big holiday in Mexico but is not widely celebrated here in the U.S..

2) Cinco de Mayo is actually not a big deal in Mexico. It is only celebrated regionally there, especially in the state Puebla. Cinco de Mayo is actually celebrated  more in the United States.

3) The date commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over the strong French forces during the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862 under the guidance of General Ignacio Zaragoza Sequin. The French occupied Mexico following the devastating  Mexican-American War of 1846-48, their Civil War in 1858 and the 1860 Reform Wars. The country was completely broke after these wars and had borrowed lost of money from European countries. And France, Britain and Spain wanted it back. They sent troops to recover their money. Spain and Britain negotiated with Mexico but France looked at this as an opportunity to try to get a stronghold on the cash strapped country and invaded.  But it was a battle that Mexico won.

4) The day started to be celebrated back in 1860s in California.  But became “in vogue” to celebrate it in the 1940s.

5) On June 7th, 2005, the U.S. Congress made a resolution to proclaim Cinco de Mayo a day to be observed by the American people with events, activities and ceremonies.

Photo: Flickr VPickering

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