A Brief History of Cinco de Mayo

A Brief History of Cinco de Mayo

Courtesy of wikimedia

Addi Westpheling, Staff Reporter

The Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo is the day of fiestas, dancing and good, authentic Mexican food. For most people it’s just an opportunity to party and celebrate Mexican culture. The reality is that most people don’t actually know why they are celebrating and why Cinco de Mayo is such an important day in Mexican history.

“I think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican independence day equivalent to our Fourth of July,” said Clay Linge, ’17.

Many people mix up Cinco de Mayo with Mexican independence, which was actually declared on Sept. 16, 1810. The real reason this day is so important is because it is a commemoration of a victory by Mexican troops in La Batalla de Puebla on May 5, 1862.

“In Señora Howell’s class we had a Cinco de Mayo fiesta where we all brought authentic Mexican food and watched some Mexican dances. We also learned about the battle that Mexico won on this day,” said Kara Stover, ’17

La Batalla de Puebla was a battle between the underdog Mexican Army under command of President Benito Juarez and the powerful French Army of Napoleon III. The conflict between these two countries started when Mexico was unable to repay their foreign debt to France. To secure their payment, France sent troops into Mexico.

The battle raged on for two days and resulted in a French retreat. The underdog Mexican Army had defeated the odds and was victorious. Although La Batalla de Puebla is an insignificant part of history in France, it is very important in Mexican history. This battle gave Mexico a huge amount of patriotism and pride in their country which they had never experienced before. It ended the time of struggles in Mexico by giving the people something to unite by. They all could now proudly proclaim ¡Yo soy Mexicano! (I am Mexican!).
Whether you’re of Mexican descent or not, everyone should respect the importance of this day in history along with all the patriotism and pride that came with it.