5 Facts About Cinco de Mayo

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Cinco de Mayo is often touted as a big Mexican holiday, one that is celebrated in many major cities across the United States. However, here are five facts about this holiday that you may not know:

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day

Mexico does have an Independence Day, but it is on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, when the Mexican army kept the French from invading the country in 1862. And it is a battle worthy of commemoration — 2,000 Mexican soldiers were able to defeat the French army, made up of 6,000 men.

Read about Cinco de Mayo’s origins during the American Civil War.

Most Mexicans do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo

There are a few regions in the state of Puebla that celebrate it, but for the most part, there are no Cinco de Mayo celebrations and festivities in Mexico. It is also not a federal holiday in Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo became popular in the U.S. because of the Chicano movement

During the 1960s, the Chicano movement used this holiday as a symbol of the power and strength of the Mexican people. It was also utilized as a way to educate Mexican-Americans about their cultural history.

The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations happen in California

The first celebrations of Cinco de Mayo took place in California in 1863, so it’s no surprise that the biggest festivities of this military victory takes place in various Los Angeles neighborhoods. Some celebrations include the Fiesta Broadway multi-block street fair and the parade on Olvera Street. There is also a huge Cinco de Mayo fair in Santa Ana, in Orange County.

Other Hispanic and Latinx peoples do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo

While it is not uncommon to see Latinx people at Cinco de Mayo events, other Central and Latin American countries do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo, as it is a holiday tied to Mexico’s history.

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Sara Roncero-Menendez is the Online Editor for Long Island Wins. Prior to joining the Long Island Wins team, she graduate from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and worked as a reporter for publications like Mashable, The Huffington Post, and PSFK. She became involved in immigration issues and advocacy while working towards her Masters degree at The University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. After joining the Graduate Employee Organization Local 6300, she worked on helping international and undocumented students work with the administration to get fair financial aid and fellowship opportunities. Sara also works on issues of representation in mass media, including film and television, and works on media reviews and podcast.