Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that celebrates the Mexican Army's victory over France, dates back to 1862. The battle of Puebla took place in Mexico City a few months after the French invaded. The French had a strong sense that they would defeat the Mexican army. However, on May 5, 1862 just southeast of Mexico city 1,000 French troops were killed. Despite the continuation of fighting for around five more years, the victory of the battle of Pueblo became known amongst the Mexicans as a symbol of resistance against the foreign threat.
It is not uncommon for people to misunderstand what the celebration of Cinco de Mayo is. Some believe it is Mexican Independence, similar to Fourth of July in the US. Ashley Ross from Time magazine writes, “Cinco de Mayo is part of the Latino experience of the American Civil War, it’s not about the Mexican experience”.
In the state of Puebla May 5, is celebrated every year with parades, reenactments of the battle, and speeches. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that the U.S. became to actively celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The spread of the holiday was initially due to Mexican immigrants pride of their heritage. Households of Mexican immigrants would enjoy family time, while acknowledging and remembering the hardships of their ancestors.
Over the years, the meaning of Cinco de Mayo has been lost in the abundance social events rather than remembrance of Mexican hardships . As it now represents an excuse for consuming Mexican dishes and beverages. It is unfortunate that Cinco de Mayo has lost its meaning of pride in the Mexican Army’s efforts. Hopefully, with the spread of its history, the Holiday can regain its purpose, while maintaining some of the social aspect which modern society has introduced to it.