This is a repost from a couple of years ago - but I thought I would reshare it today
As I read today in a CCN article by Raul Reyes that Cinco de Mayo has become as American as the 4th of July; I learned that the celebration was not what I thought it was all these years. Reyes' article was enough to get me interested in searching more about the date. To be truthful all I knew about Cinco de Mayo is that it’s a day of celebration , the date of Mexico’s independence over Spain… or that is what I thought.
When I began my Googling this morning, links and images of Mexican Food, Guacamole Recipes red peppers and dogs wearing sombreros populated my screen. Which are all the images that have filled my mind in conjunction with the date over the years. But it didn't take long for me to get a little more details on the date.
What I learned was that May 5th is actually the date that Mexico defeated France in 1882, It was in fact a remarkable victory. The Battle of Puebla under the leadership of General Ignacio Seguin was remarkable for a couple of reasons; the Mexicans were outnumbered by at least 2 to 1 by a much better equipped French army. Mexico won this battle, but lost this war and France continued to occupy Mexico for a few more years – however the victory was a big boost in morale for the Mexican people. President Juarez declared on May 9th, 1862 that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday regarded as the “Battle of Puebla Day or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo”. Mexico’s Independence Day is actually celebrated on September 16th.
The celebration of Cinco de Mayo began in California during the 1860’s as resistance continued against French rule in Mexico. It wasn't until the 1950’s that the rest of the United States begin to partake in the celebration. Then in the 80’s, with the help of advertising and marketers (beer companies) – the celebration began to grow in popularity in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and San Jose. In 2005 the U.S. Congress issued a Resolution calling on the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe Cinco de Mayo with ceremonies and activities with school districts to hold special events to educate students on the historical significance of the date.
So somewhere along the way I got a little mixed up on the reason to celebrate the 5th of May and I don’t’ think that I am the only one. Not that it will keep me from having a taco or maybe 2 tacos today, but knowing the facts are important to me, as well as interesting. Thanks to Mr. Reyes of CCN that got me searching for more facts. I am really happy to know that now that I can celebrate the Battle of Puebla in May and Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16th.
I think some old world style tacos are in order, minus the avocado – but that is a story for another day.
For more fun about Cinco de Mayo - check out Jimmy Buffett's song Cinco De Mayo In Memphis off the Take The Weather With You CD.