Gearing up for your annual Cinco de Mayo festivities (under quarantine) without a clue about the significance of the day? You’re not the only one. Many take Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to indulge in a day of tequila, beer, and tacos, but little know of the historical facts behind the day of celebration. Keep reading to learn some Cinco de Mayo facts and impress your friends on that Zoom call as you school everyone between refills.
1. Cinco de Mayo Isn’t Tied to Mexico’s Independence Day
Cinco de Mayo, contrary to popular belief, isn’t the Mexican version of the Fourth of July. Hold off the fireworks and some margarita mix until September 16, the day that Mexico became its own nation.
2. Cinco de Mayo Was Popuparlized by Chicano Activists in the 1960s and 1970s
The celebration is one of 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent and focuses on the Battle of the Puebla. The 1862 battle saw Mexico’s army defeat France during the Franco-Mexican War that raged between 1861 and 1867.
3. Cinco de Mayo Is All About Underdogs
In the Battle of Puebla, Mexico was the definite underdog. The army lacked formal training and had very little equipment. To top off their poor odds, they were greatly outnumbered by well-funded France. However, that didn’t stop them from outwitting their enemies.
Despite Mexico’s win in the battle, they eventually fell under French control for five years.
4. Cinco de Mayo Isn’t a Big Deal in Mexico
While bars, restaurants, and families in the US take full advantage of the day, it isn’t that big of a deal in Mexico. Back in 1862, President Benito Juárez made it a national holiday, referring to it as “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo.”
However, it’s no longer considered a national holiday. Some celebrate at home with their family and friends, but the government doesn’t hold it in the same importance as Independence Day.
5. Cinco de Mayo Is Becoming More Popular Throughout the World Each Year
President Franklin Roosevelt brought Cinco de Mayo celebrations to the US in 1933 as part of the “Good Neighbor Policy” in an effort to improve relations with Latin American countries.
The celebration continues to spread throughout the globe as the years go on. Countries such as Australia, Canada, and Malta reportedly have a blast on Cinco de Mayo — just like us Americans.