Cinco de Mayo
May 5th is not Mexican Independence Day, despite what you may have heard. Mexico became independent from Spain at midnight on September 15, 1810. It took 11 years until the first Spanish soldiers clued in and were forced to leave Mexico.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. About 4,000 Mexicans faced the French army, which was better armed and three times larger - and the Mexicans won. A year later, the losers from Puebla managed to take over Mexico City and start a French government. The French victory was short lived. The government soon collapsed and Mexicans took back their city.
Why is it Celebrated?
The fact that the heavily outnumbered Mexican army fought for victory and won is what all the fuss is about. Mexicans are proud of this day and celebrate it every May 5th. Independence Day is a bigger holiday, but that's another story.
How to Celebrate
Mexicans celebrate this holiday with a tons of food and drink, mariachi bands, parades and folk dancing. For the holiday, dig up a recipe for your favorite Mexican food and make sure it's spicy. If you're feeling really adventurous, why not try and make your own pinata and host your very own Cinco de Mayo party for all your friends!
Have Your Say
How do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Let us know!