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About Cinco De Mayo
The fifth of May, or Cinco de Mayo, is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla. In 1862, the French had been occupying Mexican territory with twice as many soldiers as the Mexican army and were advancing towards Mexico City to overthrow Mexico’s president, Benito Juarez. On May 5, 1862, Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza led the Mexican army to victory in Puebla, a city about 70 miles from Mexico City. President Juarez declared May 5 a national holiday and the city was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza. In the U.S. the date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture.
Often confused with Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. Mexican Independence Day (September 16) is a federal holiday in Mexico to commemorate the country’s independence from Spain. As per tradition on Mexico’s Independence Day, the ‘The Cry of Dolores,’ the speech that was given to fight for independence is reenacted.
Self Reflection Questions:
- What does Cinco de Mayo represent, and why do you think it has inspired contemporary celebrations worldwide?
- Discuss how Cinco de Mayo is different from Mexican Independence Day? Why do you think it is often believed to be the same celebration?
- What are important considerations to be made when celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the United States?