Cinco De Mayo is celebrated in the United States with endless margaritas and guacamole. But not all of us know why it is celebrated. It is a day to celebrate Mexican pride and heritage.
Over the years many have come to assume that it is celebrated to honor the day of Mexico’s independence. But that is not true. In this post we will discuss some fascinating facts about Cinco de Mayo.
#1 Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day
Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated in September 16th, when Mexico declared its independence in 1810. Mexican Independence Day is called Grito de Dolores. In English which means Cry of Dolores, referring to the battle cry of the Mexican war of Independence from Spain.
However, Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of victory of the Mexican army over the French army at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5th, 1862.
#2 France had an upper hand but lost
After a long and fierce battle with Spain to win its Independence, the Mexican economy was at the ruin. Moreover, by 1861 Mexico had borrowed much money from UK, France and Spain. Mexico was not able to pay the debt and wanted two years to pay it. The European countries did not well receive that news and they unanimously decided to intervene in Mexico to recover the debt.
France along with the UK and Spanish governments had the upper hand over the Mexican army. However, the UK and Spain were not very much excited about the idea of colonialism and intervention. After occupying Veracruz, UK and Spain broke the alliance with France and left France by itself.
6000 French troops set out from Veracruz to conquer Puebla. The Mexican troop was vastly outnumbered but still managed to win the battle.
#3 Hero of Cinco de Mayo: General Ignacio Zaragoza
Knowing that the Mexican army was outnumbered, the French army tried a direct assault on Puebla. They tried to conquer Quadalupe fortress. Attacking the fortress proved to be a major mistake. The French infantry attacked three times and each time they were repelled by the Mexicans.
The French when finally retreated they had loss nearly 500 soldiers. And fewer than only 100 Mexican soldiers were killed in the clash.
Although this was not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, the Mexican victory led by General Ignacio Zaragoza on Cinco de Mayo represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican people.
Because of this triumph General Zaragoza is considered a hero. And we agree. A champion of the Battle of Puebla. Since then the city of Puebla has been renamed to Puebla de Zaragoza.
#4 Napolean Bonaparte III conquered Mexico
After the defeat of the French in the Battle of Puebla, the pride and prestige of the French and Napolean Bonaparte III was at stake. And they sent almost 28,000 French soldiers to conquer the city of Puebla.
After fighting the French troops for over two months, the Mexican troops were forced to surrender.
#5 Maximilian ruled Mexico for almost 3 years
After the French defeated the Mexican army, the second Mexican empire was established. With the help of Napolean III, Maximilian was put in charge.
Maximilian was crowned emperor on April 10th, 1864. He ruled for about 3 years and was executed in 1867.
#6 Traditional Cinco de Mayo food is not Tacos
Only because Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, it does not mean that you need to consume the most common Mexican food. And Tacos are not the only food to enjoy on this day.
To celebrate this day, you should try dishes that are traditional with Puebla city, like Mole Poblano, Chalupas, Molotes, Barbacoa de Puerco.
Hi, I’m Pankaj Sinha, Co-founder of Healthconditio.org which discusses everything related to health and fitness.
I am from NE, India. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and these days I am pursuing my Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics. I am also pursuing my personal trainer certification.