Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day.
Don’t believe that!
Cinco de Mayo (“Fifth of May”) is an increasingly popular holiday in the United States. Ask any bar reveler what he is celebrating and he will probably reply something about Mexican independence, similar to the U.S. Fourth of July. This holiday is rarely celebrated in Mexico and was actually invented in California, in 1863 (according to UCLA’s Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture).
Cinco de Mayo, also known as Batalla de Puebla, commemorates the 1862 defeat of the French army in the southern city of Puebla de Los Angeles. Undefeated for nearly 50 years, the French army of 8,000 troops and loyalists were vanquished by a much smaller, rag-tag group of Mexican soldiers, many only farmers armed with machetes and rifles. After the unlikely triumph, Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in honor of the victorious general Ignacio Zaragoza.
The real Mexican independence day, El Grito de la Indepedencia (“the cry of independence”) is celebrated on September 16, the date Mexico declared independence from Spanish rule in 1810.