Spoiler alert: Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day! Get a better understanding of Mexican history by reading these interesting Cinco de Mayo facts.
Every year, Americans head out to eat tacos and drink tequila on the 5th of May.
If you think you’re celebrating Mexico’s independence on this day, think again! While it’s widely believed that Cinco de Mayo is the equivalent of the American 4th of July, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
So, what’s actually being celebrated on Cinco de Mayo?
Check out this guide of Cinco de Mayo facts to discover the real story behind this important day in history.
The History of Cinco de Mayo
So, if not for independence, why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
The holiday actually commemorates a war victory in which Mexico defeated French in an important battle in the town of Puebla. The victory of the smaller Mexican army over the larger French army was a huge boost in Morale for Mexico.
This battle took place in 1862, and it wasn’t until 1867 that the Mexican troops defeated the French troops once and for all.
Mexico’s independence day is actually on the 16th of September. This day actually isn’t the day Mexico gained independence. Rather, it’s the day in which Mexico first started to revolutionize their fight for independence. Their battle for independence technically didn’t end until September 27, 1821.
Cinco de Mayo in Mexico
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is not a public holiday and most businesses run on normal hours. In fact, most of Mexico doesn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
This often comes as a shock to many Americans, who are under the assumption that Cinco de Mayo is the most important holiday in Mexico.
Celebrations do occur in Puebla though, where the battle took place. Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered the gastronomic capital of Mexico, so it’s definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the country.
In Puebla, celebrations take place in the form of a parade. Each year, thousands of locals gather in the streets and dress up as French and Mexican soldiers to reenact the battle. After the Mexican troops defeat the French troops, celebrations continue with music, delicious food, and dancing.
Additionally, there are dozens of floats, pinatas, and colorful decorations as a part of the parade.
Cinco de Mayo in the US
Of course, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated a bit differently in the US.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations originated in California as a way to celebrate Mexico’s culture. Nowadays, you can find Cinco de Mayo celebrations all over the country, with many bars and restaurants offering special promotions for the day.
Cinco de Mayo Facts: Wrap Up
Now that you know these Cinco de Mayo facts, you’ll be able to celebrate with a bit more awareness this year.
If you’re in Utah in Cinco de Mayo and looking for somewhere to celebrate, be sure to check out our restaurant. We offer a delicious array of tacos and margaritas as well as a party room you can rent if you have a large group.