Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated in Mexico and around the world with parties, dancing, and traditional foods. But where does this holiday come from? Let’s explore why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated and how to throw a proper party to honor this tradition.
History of Cinco de Mayo
Many people believe Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, but this isn’t the case. Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo, celebrated on the 5th of May, commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the larger French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
The battle took place during a time when Mexico was in financial trouble after years of internal conflict. In 1861, Mexican President Benito Juárez suspended debts to several countries, including France, Spain, and Britain, to stabilize the nation's economy.
This decision angered the European powers, who sent their naval forces to demand repayment. Although Spain and Britain eventually withdrew, Napoleon III, the emperor of France, saw it as an opportunity to expand his empire across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1862, French troops invaded Mexico, intending to conquer the country and replace it with a French-controlled government. On their way to the capital, they stopped at the city of Puebla, where they were met by resistance from a Mexican army led by General Ignacio Zaragoza.
Despite being significantly outnumbered, the Mexican troops emerged victorious. This landmark battle was a turning point for the Mexican people, who finally saw they could defeat invaders and defend their nation. This win boosted morale across Mexico and helped them gain a sense of national pride, which is why it’s still celebrated today.
What is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated For?
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated for many reasons, but the primary one is to commemorate the Battle of Puebla and the resilience of the Mexican people. It serves as a reminder of their national pride and spirit. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico with parades, traditional music, and folk dancing.
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is often considered a celebration of Mexican-American identity and culture. These celebrations in America include parades, food and drinks, and other cultural displays that showcase the incredible contributions of Mexican Americans in the US. Ultimately, this holiday serves as an opportunity to appreciate and honor the rich history and heritage of the Mexican people and to remember their resiliency in the Battle of Puebla.
Is Cinco de Mayo Mexico's Independence Day?
While many people assume Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, this is incorrect. Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th, and it commemorates the beginning of the country’s struggle for independence from Spain in 1810.
Cinco de Mayo honors the Mexican army’s victory over French troops at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This unlikely victory became a point of cultural pride in Mexico, as it symbolized the strength and spirit of the country.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo: Customs and Fiestas
Now that we've established the origin of Cinco de Mayo, let's explore some of the customs associated with this special day:
Reenactments - Each year, the city of Puebla and the surrounding region perform a military reenactment of the Battle of Puebla. This reenactment is a reminder of the strength of Mexican soldiers who were up against a much larger French army.
Food - Cinco de Mayo celebrations include traditional dishes like mole poblano, tamales, and chilaquiles.
Parades - Cities and towns throw Cinco de Mayo parades with mariachi bands, colorful costumes, dancing, piñatas, and fireworks.
How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
If you’d like to join in on the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, there are plenty of ways to do so. Whether you're attending a large fiesta or hosting a gathering at home, incorporating elements of Mexican culture into your festivities can help make the day more authentic and meaningful. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Learn about The History - One of the best things about holidays is their ability to teach us about different cultures. Take time before your celebrations to learn about the history of Cinco de Mayo and share it with your friends and family.
Enjoy Mexican Cuisine - Consider serving traditional Mexican food like enchiladas, mole poblano, or tacos. You can create something tasty for everyone to enjoy!
Decorate with Color - Decorate your Cinco de Mayo party with colorful decorations from Party City. Shop for colorful table covers, fiesta themed balloons, festive napkins, or even a piñata kit for your guests!
Support Mexican-Owned Businesses - Use this holiday to support local, Mexican-owned businesses in your area. Whether you try a local Mexican restaurant or something else, this is a great way to make your Cinco de Mayo celebration more authentic.
Remember to keep learning and sharing the history behind the holiday and embrace the rich culture it represents. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
The Lowdown on Cinco de Mayo Celebrations
Every year on May 5th, people around the world host celebrations for Cinco de Mayo. Whether you’ve never celebrated it before or are looking to throw an authentic fiesta, there are many ways to commemorate this holiday. Take this opportunity to learn more about the history of Mexico, try a new Mexican recipe, and turn on some traditional music. And don’t forget to grab your party decorations!
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Decorations from Party City
About Party City
Celebrate the culture and heritage of Mexico on May 5th with party supplies from Party City. From themed dishware to glittering signs and banners, Party City has what you need to make your celebration all the more memorable. Explore our Cinco de Mayo shop today and find what you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the real reason we celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory against French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
What are three facts about Cinco de Mayo?
Three fun facts about Cinco de Mayo are:
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day.
Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico.3.
The Mexican army was significantly outnumbered in the Battle of Puebla. Their forces had about 2,000 soldiers, while the French had 6,000.
What food is eaten on Cinco de Mayo?
Common Cinco de Mayo dishes include mole poblano, tamales, enchiladas, and more.