Cinco de Mayo

Next Monday, 5 May 2025

Cinco De Mayo is celebrated every year on May 5  to commemorate the victory of the Mexicans over the French in the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862. The term 'Cinco De Mayo' is a Spanish phrase that translates to "the fifth of May".

Wishing Cinco De Mayo

The day has become more popular in the United States than in Mexico, and it serves as a commemoration of Mexican culture in America. 

Cinco de Mayo is not a public holiday, and as such, schools and businesses remain open.

Cinco De Mayo History: The Battle of Puebla

After the Mexican-American War and the Reform War, Mexico found itself in near bankruptcy and was unable to pay its debt to some European governments including Spain, England and France. Around 70 percent of its revenue solely went to these countries.

Battle of Puebla
The Battle of Puebla

This is why President Benito Juárez declared that the debt payment be put on hold for two years in 1861. This angered Spain, Britain, and France who sent convoys to Veracruz demanding to be paid back.

Juárez managed to negotiate with Britain and Spain but Napolean saw this as an opportunity to establish a French empire in Mexico. He wanted to gain influence in American territories. 

So, in late 1861, many French troops attacked Veracruz leading President Juárez and his government to retreat. However, the 8000 soldiers encountered strong resistance in Puebla, while making their way to Mexico City. 

It is important to mention here that most of the people who fought in the Mexican Army against French invaders in the Battle of Puebla were volunteers and not trained military personnel. 

After getting the message about Puebla's attack, President Juárez ordered 4000 men to fortify the town and forts of Loreto and Guadalupe.

Even though Mexicans were under-prepared and the French were heavily armed, the French were forced to retreat by early evening with a loss of approximately 500 soldiers. On the other hand, Mexicans lost less than 100 men! This victory gave the Mexicans a great morale boost and strengthened their resistance, as well as their sense of community and patriotism. 

"They may be the best army in the world but we are the best sons of Mexico"

-Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza in a letter to President Juárez

How Is Cinco De Mayo Celebrated in the United States

The Beginning of Cinco De Mayo Celebration in the US

Did you know that more than 37.2 million Hispanics of Mexican origin are living in the United States currently? It was around mid 20th century that Mexican immigrants in the United States started celebrating Cinco De Mayo with much fervour.

However, alcohol manufacturers and brewing companies were the one who further boosted the popularity of Cinco De Mayo through various lucrative ad campaigns. 

The commemoration of this day in the US began in California in 1863 at the hands of Mexican miners who were residing here and wanted to celebrate the victory. Cinco De Mayo became known all over the country in the 1940s during the Chicano movement. However, it became really popular in the 1980s.

Cinco De Mayo Celebration in the US

Annual Cinco de Mayo parade in Southwest Detroit
Annual Cinco de Mayo parade in Southwest Detroit

Grand Cinco De Mayo Celebrations can be observed in cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco and Chicago. The celebrations emphasize Mexican culture, food, and music. Besides this, Cinco de Mayo events feature Baile Folklorico and mariachi demonstrations.

Singer Pepe Aguilar in Fiesta Broadway Festival
Singer Pepe Aguilar in Fiesta Broadway

More than 500,000 people attend the Fiesta broadway, the nation's largest Cinco De Mayo Celebration. Since its inception in 1990, Fiesta Broadway has turned into a staple celebration of Mexican as well as Latin American culture in Los Angeles. 

Many iconic singers of Mexican and Latin origin have attended this grand fiesta. This includes Selena, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony and so on. 

A Movement Across the Globe

Cinco de Mayo is now celebrated across the whole globe, in Australia, The United Kingdom, and anywhere where there is a community of Mexicans or people who find pleasure in Mexcian food and culture. You can find banners and decorations, and in schools there will be events and activities to educate students on the history and cultural significance of Cinco de Mayo. 

Did you know about Cinco De Marcho, a fusion celebration of Mexican and Irish cultures?

Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo - Next years

Tuesday, 05 May 2026

Wednesday, 05 May 2027

Friday, 05 May 2028

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