Mexican History Remembered on Cinco de Mayo

Posted on May 5, 2011 by


Almost everyone has heard of the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo, but how many people actually know what the day is commemorating? The name of the holiday translates, simply, to the fifth of May. On that day in 1862, the Mexican militia celebrated a victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla. The city of Puebla is 100 miles east of Mexico City.

The Battle of Puebla occurred at a very chaotic and violent time in Mexico’s history. The country had gained its independence from Spain in September of 1821. The struggle was bloody and difficult. Conflicts such as the Mexican-American War and the Mexican Civil War had ruined Mexico’s national economy. Mexico owed a large debt to several European countries, including France, which was using this debt to establish ownership in Mexico so that the nation could expand its empire. Finally, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, the Mexican army was unexpectedly victorious.

The holiday is primarily celebrated in the Mexican state of Puebla. Celebrating Cinco de Mayo has become increasingly popular in parts of America with higher Mexican populations. In these areas, there are celebrations of Mexican culture, food, and music. Many cities in the U.S. have parades and concerts in the week leading up to the fifth of May.

Said FAHS sophomore Brittnay Frymoyer, “Cinco de Mayo is a good way to celebrate the beliefs of other ethnic groups.”

This holiday is a symbol of Mexican pride and unity and includes great festivities. It is also a celebration of the courage that the Mexicans demonstrated when facing the French army. The Mexican army of only 4,000 soldiers went up against the 8,000-man French army. The Battle of Puebla is also significant because it was the last time a European power invaded the Americas. So, on the fifth of May, get together with friends and family for a fiesta.

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