Cinco de Mayo Explained

TORONTO (Barrio) – Cinco de Mayo is thebiggest Mexican holiday of the year.Except it isn’t. That’s Sept. 16, Mexican Independence Day

If you thought Cinco de Mayo was Día de la Independencia, you aren’t alone. Many believe it is.

While the holiday isn’t honoring the beginning of the 11-year Mexican War of Independence in 1810, it is still a monumental day in Mexico’s history, and a celebration Hispanics carried into USA, Canada, and beyond.

It’s more about having a good time, having a good party and celebrating over a few drinks.

Irene Vásquez, department chair of Chicano and Chicana Studies at the University of New Mexico, mentions “It’s important for people to understand that this is a day when Mexican people can celebrate with peoples of all different ethnicities the importance of history, of heritage, of culture and that we all have a place in the society.”

What is Cinco de Mayo and why is it celebrated?

Not long after defeating the Spaniards in 1821 and losing the Mexican-American War in 1848, Mexico found itself in another conflict with France. 

French Emperor Napoleon III wanted to claim Mexican territory for himself, sending his troops to force Mexico’s President Benito Juárez and the government out of Veracruz.

On May 5, 1862, in Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico, 6,000 French troops faced 2,000 Mexican soldiers at daybreak. By the evening, Mexico had claimed victory.

Days later Juárez declared May 5 a national holiday.

Source: USA Today

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