From Tacos to Sombreros, Cinco De Mayo is a celebration of all things Mexican.
Cinco De Mayo, which translates to ‘Fifth Of May’ from Spanish, is one of the most colourful and energetic festivals celebrated by Mexicans all over the world and is of special importance to Mexicans residing in the USA. Every year, multiple cities witness huge parades of people dressed as French and Mexican soldiers, mariachis, cowboys and other characters from Mexican pop culture. The streets are adorned with colourful flags and decorations along with stalls selling freshly made traditional Mexican food such as Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Tamales and Enchiladas among other things. Read on to find out some interesting facts about this festival.
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1. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco De Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day. The festival is in fact celebrated to honor Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). Despite being outnumbered two to one, the Mexicans defeated the massive French army on May 5, 1862. The Mexican Independence Day is actually observed on September 16.
2. A young officer named Porfirio Diaz made a name for himself at the Battle of Puebla. This put him on an upward climb through the ranks as an officer and then as a politician. In 1876, he became the President and maintained that position for 35 years until he was overthrown during the Mexican Revolution in 1911.
3. The festival is a much bigger deal outside of Mexico and especially in the USA with over 31.8 million residents of Mexican origin. After Mexico won the Battle Of Puebla, several Mexicans in the USA started expressing their patriotism through parades, Mariachi music performances and street festivals across the USA. This lay the foundation of the Cinco De Mayo celebrations.
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4. Los Angeles, California is home to the hottest Cinco De Mayo celebrations owing to the high number of Mexicans living in the area. They celebrate “Festival de Fiesta Broadway” on May 5 or on the closest Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of people participate in the festivities annually.
5. Several musical artists such as War, Senses Fail and Liz Phair all have songs titled after the famous holiday.
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6. Longmont, Colorado, USA, hosts an anual event featuring not only food, but also shopping, car shows, family activities and the highly popular Chihuahua beauty contest. A King and Queen chihuahua is nominated with the owners winning actual cash prices.
7. According to the California Avocado Commission, over 81 million avocados are consumed by Americans on Cinco de Mayo to make the popular Mexican guacamole dip.
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8. Though not for everybody, Vancouver, Canada, hosts an annual Cinco de Mayo skydiving event for people interested in adventure sports. This death defying event is later followed by a moustache contest, along with tacos and mojitos as part of the evening festivities.
9. Though the French army lay defeated at the Battle of Puebla, they regrouped and received reinforcements. This time around, not only did they win the battle but also instated Maximilian of Austria as the Emperor of Mexico. Though Maximilian was not a cruel ruler, most Mexicans wanted him ousted which they succeeded in doing so in 1867 after which he was executed by forces loyal to President Benito Juarez.
10. A major part of the celebration is the parade where people dress as French and Mexican soldiers. They then reenact the Battle Of Puebla for the audience’s viewing pleasure.
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