Feliz Cinco de Mayo! At Chapala Mexican Restaurant, we appreciate all who celebrate this fantastic Mexican holiday. In honor of it, we thought we would share with you a little history about the origin of this festive day and why Americans seem to love it so much. So relax, grab a margarita and prepare to learn a little history.
Cinco de Mayo’s Festive Origin
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the anniversary of Mexico’s 1862 victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. It wasn’t until about 100 years later, during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, that Mexican-Americans were encouraged to use Cinco de Mayo as a way to showcase pride and raise awareness of Mexican culture in the United States. It has since grown into a huge celebration within the U.S. and people of all cultures and nationalities make time to celebrate.
Celebrating in the United States
Americans seem to celebrate Cinco de Mayo more than native Mexicans. Among Mexicans, Cinco de Mayo is primarily only observed in the state of Puebla. There, they celebrate with military parades and recreations of the battle among other festivities. The largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations are in U.S. cities such as those in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix and other southwestern cities that have a large population of Mexican Americans. But it’s not just the Southwest that enjoys Cinco de Mayo. Cities across the country such as Chicago, Portland and St. Paul, Minnesota attract hundreds of thousands of people for Cinco de Mayo festivities every year.
Mexican Independence Day
Because Cinco de Mayo is such a widely celebrated holiday in the States, many people believe that May 5 represents Mexico’s Independence Day. This is completely inaccurate. Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 16, which is the anniversary of the “Cry of Dolores” which was a call to arms to declare war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810. To celebrate Independence Day, each year in Mexico City on the night of September 15, the President of Mexico rings the National Palace’s bell while shouting patriotic Gritos in remembrance of Grito de Dolores.