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May 5

Cinco de Mayo

Mexicana
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Mexican Dance (Jarabe Tapatío)
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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

With origins in the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, Cinco de Mayo is now an annual celebration of Mexican culture and heritage held primarily in the United States. Historically, recognition of this morale boosting victory of the smaller Mexican forces over the better equipped French Army is said to have began in California. According to historians, "Far up in the gold country town of Columbia (now Columbia State Park) Mexican miners were so overjoyed at the news that they spontaneously fired off rifle shots and fireworks, sang patriotic songs and made impromptu speeches," thus beginning an annual tradition of celebration in California, which has since evolved from a military commemoration into cultural and heritage festivals worldwide featuring the foods, folkloric dance, and music of Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) is is an annual celebration held on May 5th  to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza.

More popularly celebrated in the United States than Mexico, the date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. These celebrations began in California, where they have been observed annually since 1863. 

According to the official register, this tartan design is for the people of Mexico, of Mexican descent, or for those associating with Mexico worldwide, based on the colours of the national flag of Mexico.

In the gold country town of Columbia in 1863 California, Mexican miners were so overjoyed at the news of the Mexican resistance "that they spontaneously fired off rifle shots and fireworks, sang patriotic songs and made impromptu speeches."  However, this holiday only started to come into vogue in the 1940s America during the rise of the Chicano Movement and then crossed over from California into the rest of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.  In the1980s when marketers, especially beer companies, capitalized on the celebratory nature of the day and began to promote it pushing its evolution into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, first in areas with large Mexican-American populations, like Los AngelesChicagoHoustonNew York, followed by ClevelandBostonIndianapolisRaleighDallasSan AntonioWashington, AtlantaMiamiOrlandoDenverPhoenixPhiladelphiaTucsonSan FranciscoSan Jose, D.C., and San Diego.

Typical events highlighting Mexican culture, include folkloric dance and mariachi demonstrations.  

In Mexico, the commemoration of the original historical battle continues to be mostly ceremonial, such as through military parades or battle reenactments. The city of Puebla marks the event with an arts festival, a festival of local cuisine, and re-enactments of the battle.

 

For more on the history of this celebration day, click the Mexican dancers.