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Cinco De Mayo: What Are We Really Celebrating?

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As millions of North Americans gear up to celebrate Mexican Independence on May 5, a significantly smaller number of our neighbors to the south will be observing Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a much wider scale in the U.S. than it is in Mexico, where only the state of Puebla is known to host celebrations on that day.

Puebla is where Mexico defeated the French, but it was not the battle that gained its independence, as many North Americans have been erroneously taught. It is more of Mexico's version of the Alamo.

In fact, Mexico was already an independent country when it fought the Napoleon-commanded French troops on that day in May.

Cinco De Mayo

After defaulting on its debts to European countries, Mexico was able to work out deals with Spain and Britain. However, with Napoleon still set on staking French flags all over the globe, France wanted Mexican territory as repayment.

On May 5, 1862, Mexico was fighting to protect its independence. As for the real Mexican Independence Day, it falls on Sept. 16, 1810, when the Mexican War of Indepenced was declared and launched.

Fun Facts

  1. What's known as Cinco de Mayo in the US is known in Mexico known as "El Día de la Batalla de Puebla" or the Battle of Puebla.
  2. Just two years after that infamous day, Cinco de Mayo celebrations began in the U.S.
  3. Los Angeles is home to largest concentration of Mexican-Americans in the U.S., and hosts the most Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the country as a result.
  4. More beer is sold on Cinco de Mayo than St. Patrick's Day or Superbowl Sunday.
  5. The margarita is the most popular cocktail in the U.S. and people in the states consume two times as much tequila annually as Mexico
  6. While margaritas make up about 23 percent of cocktail sales on average, that percentage doubles to 47 percent on Cinco de Mayo

Also On This Date:

  •  In 1821, Napoleon died.
  •  In 1961, the first American went into space.
  •  In 1904, Cy Young pitched a perfect game.
  •  In 2002, Spider-Man became the first movie to gross $100 million during opening week.
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