What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo, or 5th of May in English, is a celebration of the Mexicans winning the Battle of Puebla.

Fifth of May, also known as Cinco de Mayo in Spanish is a day that is often confused with Mexican Independence Day. However, the day is actually a celebration of the Mexican’s win against the French troops in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

This dates back to 1861 when Mexico declared a temporary postponement of the foreign debts it owed to England, Spain and France. This resulted in all three countries to invade Mexico. By early 1862, England and Spain came to a truce with Mexico and decided to withdraw. However, France saw this as an opportunity to establish a monarchy under Maximilian of Austria.

France (under the rule of Napoleon III), sent about 6,000 under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez to attack the town of Puebla de Los Angeles. Under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza, Mexican Presidence Benito Juárez collected around 2,000 working men that were willing to fight for Mexico and sent them to Puebla. On 5th May 1862, the French forces attacked and the battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, ending with the French troops retreating.

The win at Puebla is considered as great symbolic victory that helped bolster the resistance. Today, the day is used to commemorate the win against the French army and also celebrate the Mexican heritage and culture. It is celebrated with great significance in Mexico and the US. The day is celebrated with music, food, parades and parties.

Image Courtesy: articles.chicagotribune.com

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