Published On: Mon, May 5th, 2014

5 de mayo: What you need to know

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Planning on celebrating Cinco de Mayo? Might be easier to find a party in the United States than in Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo celebrations have gained popularity throughout U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Phoenix, among others, all of which hold festivals and street fairs aimed at celebrating Mexican culture.

The thing is, Cinco de Mayo has actually become a bigger deal in the United States than it is in Mexico.


Battle of Puebla

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo –- which means “May Fifth” in Spanish –is not Mexico’s independence day. The holiday commemorates the battle of Puebla in 1862, where Mexican troops  under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated French troops, although ultimately Mexico was defeated in the war.

It originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

Puebla is actually one of the few places in Mexico where Cinco de Mayo is truly celebrated. Most other cities just treat it like a normal day — no celebrations, no mariachis, no parades.


Cinco de Mayo poster (1901)


Mexico Travel Care




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