Cinco De Mayo History


Alex Fowler, Sports Editor

Cinco De Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s victory in 1862 over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco- Mexican War. For years, Cinco De Mayo has been associated with indulging in delicious food and hanging out with friends, and while it’s fun to celebrate, it’s important to remember where this holiday stems from. 


On May 9, 1862, President Juárez declared that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday regarded as “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo.” Although Cinco De Mayo is celebrated in Puebla and Veracruz with battle re-enactments, parades, and much more, it’s not a national Mexican holiday. However, all public schools are closed nationwide in Mexico on May 5th. The day is an official holiday in the State of Puebla, where the Battle took place, and also a full holiday (no work) in the neighboring State of Veracruz. While as in the U.S., many celebrate Mexican and Mexican-American culture on this day. Celebrations began in California, where they have been observed annually since 1863. The day gained nationwide popularity beyond those of Mexican-American heritage in the 1980s due to advertising campaigns by beer, wine, and tequila companies. In the 1960s, Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday, in part because they identified with the victory of Indigenous Mexicans over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla. Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.