Cinco de Mayo Trivia

Cinco de Mayo Trivia

May 12

It seems only fitting that, now that May is here, we share some cool information about this party-filled (though not official) holiday. We think you’ll find it quite interesting, and there will surely be something you’ve never read about before!

It’s Not Really Celebrated in Mexico

Over the past few decades, Cinco de Mayo has become one of the most eagerly anticipated celebrations in the United States. Although the origin of the celebration recalls a historical event that occurred in Mexico, the reality is that neither south of the border nor elsewhere in Latin America is this day celebrated in the manner in which is in the US.

It’s Often Confused

There are those who think that this day is a celebration of Mexico’s independence, there are those who confuse it with the nationally-celebrated (in Mexico) Day of the Dead and there are also those who believe that it is a religious celebration.

It’s Intended to Commemorate a Battle

Truth is, Cinco de Mayo is supposed to commemorate the victory of the Mexicans over the French army in the battle of Puebla in the state of Veracruz. Perhaps even more curious is the fact that Napoleon himself was interested in capturing Puebla, but fortunately he was not successful. It is believed that if he had been, he may have changed the entire outcome of America’s Civil War.

Why Is It So Popular Nowadays?

There are many explanations as to why the date is so popular in the USA. They range from the interpretation of some historians who see the Mexican victory on May 5 (“Cinco de Mayo”) as a factor in the triumph of federal forces against the southern slave states in the American Civil War, to the idea that defeat postponed the French occupation of Mexico and prevented Napoleon III from helping Confederate troops during a key period of the Civil War. This would affirm that the impact of the Mexican victory in Puebla in 1862 and then the siege of that city in 1863 would echo the battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, where the victory of federal forces defined the end for the Confederacy.

When Was it Celebrated for the First Time?

The Cinco de Mayo celebration is believed to have begun in the ’60s when Mexican-American activists turned the Battle of Puebla into a proud moment in Latin American history.

Celebrations Across the Nation

Many cities in the United States hold various festivals where members of the consulates, mariachis, Mexican bands, restaurants, artisans, and the immigrant population living there meet. But the Battle of Puebla is not only celebrated on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In New York, the Cinco de Mayo Parade is held in Central Park, where in addition to the parade of regional costumes, a fundraiser is held for higher level Mexican students. Before the parade, contests are held in different cities to find the women who will represent Miss Cinco de Mayo during the celebration.

Mexico’s Actual Day of Independence…

As mentioned earlier, many people who actively celebrate on Cinco de Mayo believe that it represents Mexico’s historic day of independence; however, this is not true. The actual date of Mexico’s independence day is on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is merely “Battle of Puebla Day” in Mexico and not even considered a national holiday.

The Largest Celebration in LA, California

One of the biggest celebrations is held at Placita Olvera in the city of Los Angeles, California. Right in this city, the Union of Poblanos Abroad organizes a festival with civic and cultural ceremonies.

In other cities in the US such as Chicago, Phoenix, and Washington, the Mexican community also gathers as a symbol of unity and identity. The impact that this celebration has on the Mexican-American community has to do with the fact that the Civil War and the French Intervention were parallel struggles in which democratic and anti-racist ideals were at stake.

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