Cinco de Mayo is almost here! Read on to learn all about the 5th of May and why we find it to be such a cause for celebration.
1. Not a celebration of independence. Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence (which is actually September 16th), but rather a celebration of Mexico’s victory in the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862 during the Franco-Mexican war. It was an unlikely win for the Mexican militia who were heavily outnumbered by the French. The victory became a source of pride for the country and is the reason we continue to celebrate today.
2. Mexico won the battle, but not the war. Although the Mexican Army won the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862 the French went on to win the war, occupying the region for five years.
3. Napolean III had multiple motives on May 5th. For the leader of France, Napolean III, the battle at Puebla was an attempt at not only spreading his empire but at conquering a key Mexican access point to the U.S., where he intended to lend support to the confederate army during the Civil War in an effort to keep the U.S. divided and consequently less powerful.
4. Abraham Lincoln sympathized with the Mexican cause during the French occupation but was unable to lend direct support to the nation due to the U.S. Civil War, which was taking place at the same time. When the Civil War finally ended, the U.S. forced France to withdraw its troops from Mexico and their empire collapsed.
5. Cinco de Mayo became a popular holiday in the U.S. after President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the “Good Neighbor Policy” in 1933 to improve relations with Latin American countries.
6. According to the California Avocado Commission, Americans consume up to 81 million pounds of avocados on Cinco de Mayo every year. Holy guacamole!
8. The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo party is held in Los Angeles, California! Other U.S. cities that throw big celebrations for Cinco de Mayo are Denver, New York, Phoenix and Houston.