Culture & History, Festivals and Events

Cinco De Mayo in Mexico

Posters for Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in Mexico

It had been mentioned that Mexico’s May 5 holiday – Cinco de Mayo – is more celebrated among Mexicans in the U.S. than it is in Mexico, and that nobody really seems to know why.

It appears that many people in the U.S. think Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, the equivalent of the Fourth of July. May 5 isn’t an official national holiday in Mexico. Schools and some commercial office workers have the day off, but businesses open.

Cinco de Mayo marks the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army led by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French invaders. The following year the Napoleonic troops, with reinforcements, were successful and later installed Austrian archduke Maximilian of Habsburg as emperor.

Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 16, and that is a national holiday. The date marks the call to arms in 1810 by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, which set off a long war for independence from Spain. Independence was finally achieved in 1821.

Revolution Day, which marks the anniversary of the start of the 1910-1917 Revolution, is November 20.

See also: A Brief History of Mexico and Mexico’s Public Holidays

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