5 de Mayo: What to Know About this Holiday
Bars and restaurants in both Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit gear up every year for 5 de Mayo celebrations, offering specials deals on Mexican food and drinks.
In the United States, this date is largely seen as a celebration of Mexican-American culture stretching back to the 1800s in California. Typical celebrations often include parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods (tacos, enchiladas, tamales and mole poblano).
5 de Mayo: What It Is
This annual celebration marks the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. The triumph over the better equipped and more numerous French troops was an enormous emotional boost for the Mexican soldiers led by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza.
On May 5th, 1862, more than 2,000 Mexican soldiers defeated 6,000 French soldiers during a battle in Puebla de Los Ángeles, a small town in East-Central Mexico. Days later, Mexican President Benito Juárez declared May 5th a national holiday.
This holiday commemorates the start of France leaving Mexico during a time when Mexico was “economically vulnerable.” The battle also had an impact on the American Civil War. After France was defeated, the Confederacy could not use the European country as an ally to win the war.
5 de Mayo: What it Isn’t
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, Mexico’s most important holiday. Mexicans celebrate their country’s independence from Spain on the anniversary of the call to arms against the European country issued September 16th, 1810, by the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest in Dolores, Hidalgo.
However, 5 de Mayo has become an annual celebration of Mexican-American culture in the United States. This celebration began as a form of resistance to the effects of the Mexican-American War, which occurred in the late 19th century.