Every Cinco de Mayo, which in Spanish means “5th of May”, Mexico commemorates the important Battle of Puebla. This recalls the first time the Mexican army was able to defeat a better prepared foreign power: the French. The battle took place in the city of Puebla de Zaragoza on May 5th, 1862.
Why Does the United States Celebrates Cinco de Mayo?
We know it is not a national holiday in Mexico, but its citizens celebrate it, and the large number of Mexicans in the United States is no exception. It is a symbol of pride to this community.
In the United States, every Cinco de Mayo there are fajitas, guacamole, Mexican flags, mariachis, margaritas, beers and lots of partying. It has become the Mexican fiesta par excellence in the United States.
There are even offers at American restaurants, a great display of publicity and endless promotions.
Five Curiosities aboutCinco de Mayo in the U.S.
At the end of 1861, Spain, the U.K. and France had invaded Mexico, but after six months, the first two withdrew. On the north side of the border, the American Civil War was in progress, so the French decided to take advantage of the chaos and invaded Mexico. It was the classic David-and-Goliath-style victory, and has been celebrated ever since, because of its symbolic value.
- Texas and Cinco de Mayo
Zaragoza was located in what now is Texas, about 10 kilometers north of Corpus Christi. In 1999, the Texas Senate declared it the official place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
- A Great Event in the U.S.
Among the best and most visited festivals in the U.S. is Chicago’s Cinco de Mayo, which is attended by about 200,000 people.
There is also the one in Denver (where about 400,000 people gather for two days) and the one in Portland, Oregon (300,000 people). The celebrations in St. Paul, Minnesota, which attract more than 25,000 Latino people (nearly 10 % of its population) are important as well.
- A Mexican-American Tradition
Although it has been celebrated since Mexico got the victory, in most parts of America it was unknown until the 1960s, when Mexican-American activists began to give it prominence.
In 2014, Cinco de Mayo (or its nearest Friday) was the day on which more alcoholic drinks, outside of the winter season, were taken. In general, it is one of the top five days on which people drink alcohol.
Mexican-American cuisine has an important place in the U.S. According to the Smithsonian Institution magazine, the poblano cuisine is one of the best in Mexico: mole poblano, chalupas (thick tortillas with meat sauce and onions) and chilis in walnut sauce (fried chilies with walnut sauce, red Granada and parsley) are delicious dishes that display the colors of the Mexican flag.
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!