Facts About Cinco de Mayo

Dancers at the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival in Washington, DC were photographed by bdking on May 5, 2007
Dancers at the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival in Washington, DC were photographed by bdking on May 5, 2007 | Source

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo—May 5th—is a holiday celebrated in the United States and some parts of Mexico. The holiday commemorates the greatly-outnumbered Mexican army's victory over France on May 5, 1862 at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, a war which was fought from 1861 to 1868.

Battle of Puebla

In 1861, Benito Juárez became president of Mexico. The country was experiencing financial difficulties, so loans were obtained from several European countries. Mexico was unable to repay the loans made by France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The three countries sent ships to Mexico, with each country demanding loan repayment. Mexico successfully negotiated settlements with Spain and the United Kingdom, so the ships from those countries returned to Europe.

Napoleon III was the ruler of France. Rather than negotiate a settlement with Benito Juárez, Napoleon attempted to make Mexico a dependent empire of France. In the last quarter of 1861, a French fleet arrived in the waters off Veracruz, Mexico.

A well-armed force stormed the city. President Juárez and the other government officials fled Veracruz.

Puebla, Mexico

A markerPuebla de Los Angeles, Puebla, Mexico -
[get directions]

French General Charles Latrille de Lorencez decided that the small city of Puebla de Los Angeles in east central Mexico would be an easy target for his 6000 troops. President Juárez—from his new headquarters in northern Mexico—sent Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza and 2000 men to defend the city of Puebla. The Mexicans, outnumbered three to one, didn’t have enough weapons, supplies, or equipment. They fortified the city as best they could and waited for the French to attack.

General Zaragoza and his 6000 well-equipped soldiers attacked the city of Puebla de Los Angeles, defended by General Ignacio Zaragoza and his rag-tag group of 2000 men—many of them not soldiers—on May 5, 1862. The battle lasted from dawn until early evening. It ended when the French, who had lost 500, men retreated. The Mexicans lost 100 men. The Battle of Puebla was a symbolic—rather than a strategic—victory for Mexico.

In 1868, six years after the battle, the Civil War in the United States ended, and the US was finally able to help Mexico. Due to military assistance and political pressure from the United States, the French withdrew from Mexico.

Napoleon III had installed Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian as emperor of Mexico in 1864. The Archduke was captured by Juárez’s forces in 1868 and executed.

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Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in Mexico

Cinco de Mayo isn't a federal holiday in Mexico. In most parts of the country, the day is no different than other days. Banks and offices, as well as stores, remain open.

The Fifth of May—Cinco de Mayo—is celebrated as a holiday in some parts of the state of Puebla. There are recreations of the Battle of Puebla, military parades, and other minor festivities.

A mariachi band at the XIII Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charreria, in Guadalajara, Mexico.
A mariachi band at the XIII Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charreria, in Guadalajara, Mexico. | Source

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Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in the United States

Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated in the United States every year since 1863. An impromptu celebration by Mexican miners working in California occurred. The miners, overjoyed at news of the victory at the Battle of Puebla, sang songs, made speeches, and fired rifles into the air.

El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles— the Town of Our Lady Queen of the Angels—the second settlement by the Mexicans in Upper California, founded in 1781, became the city of Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, the celebrations occur at the Plaza del Pueblo de Los Angeles, near Olvera Street.

Mexican culture and heritage is celebrated on Cinco de Mayo in the United States, with the largest celebrations being held in Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; and Los Angeles, California. Celebrations include Mexican folk music—mariachi—and folk dancing— baile folklórico.

On June 7, 2005, the US Congress adopted a non-binding resolution calling for the President of the United States to issue a proclamation requesting the people of the US to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Antonio Banderas: Cancion del Mariachi

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Comments 54 comments

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Wow! Am I first? What a great history--so much here I did not know--am sharing this one!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Audrey (AudreyHowitt),

Thanks for reading my article and being the first person to comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

I live an hour and one-half by car from the Mexican border. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in many of the cities in the area in which I live.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

I loved reading about this festival which is celebrated widely in california.

a very thorough piece of work, daisy.

voted up as useful/interesting. sharing it across


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ruchira,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

Sometimes I think I'm living in Mexico. English-speaking people unfamiliar with the area in which I live have stopped me to ask for directions, and their first question has been "Do you speak English?"


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

Another greatly researched hub. I always enjoy a cinco de mayo celebration, but never really knew the history behind it. Thanks. Pinned.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Glimmer Twin Fan,

Thanks for reading, commenting in, and pinning my article. I appreciate your continued support of my writing.

I enjoy writing gently educational articles. I knew that Cinco de Mayo was a celebration of the victory of the Mexicans over the French in the Battle of Puebla, but I wasn't aware of so many of the details until I began doing the research for my Hub.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. SF's Mission district is the place to be.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Martin (Mhatter99),

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.

I've been to San Francisco many times. I live an hour away by plane. I've been to the Mission District for Fourth of July celebrations, but not for Cinco de Mayo. I'll have to keep it mind.


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Thank you for that history lesson!

I nerver heard of the Cinco de Mayo; it must be nice to hear the music and watch the dances with those beautiful dresses!

Since I went to Mexico for holidays, I discovered the music of that country and I just love it. It's like the music smells the warmth of the country (may be I am dreaming and delirious because I live in Canada and it's sooooo cold now).

Thanks again for this nice hub!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Joelle (kidscrafts),

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.

You might search on the Internet to see if there are any Cinco de Mayo celebrations near where you live in Canada. The holiday is celebrated in several countries in addition to the United States and Mexico.


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Good idea! I didn't thought about that!

I looked on the internet and it seems some local restaurants have special meals for that occasion. On another web site they say they don't have anything specific yet (too early probably) for that event! I will have to pay attention for that because we have so many people from so many countries here in Ottawa, so it's not surprising to have celebration for the Cinco de Mayo! Thanks for the tip!

Have a great weekend!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Joelle.

Thanks for visiting again. I'm glad you'll be able to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Ottawa! You have a great weekend, too!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Being Spanish, I have celebrated many Cinco de Mayo's. It is one of the most celebrated holidays outside of its culture in the US. I guess it is the party atmosphere that goes with it everyone enjoys. Back home we have parades, fiestas, carnivals and mariachi bands all in one! OK, I played Antonio's video -- Is it hot in here? I am fanning myself now!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Dianna (teaches12345),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I knew you were a fan of Antonio Banderas...I couldn't wait for you to play the video! (I viewed the video a few times before I published my Hub, just to be certain there weren't any problems with it.)

I've attended several Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Southern California. The best one, without any doubt, was in Los Angeles. The celebration began at the Plaza del Pueblo de Los Angeles and continued for several block along Olvera Street. It was so much fun!


Valerie T profile image

Valerie T 3 years ago from Nashua, NH

In my hometown of San Antonio TX, Cinco de Mayo is very much celebrated. Great Hub Voted up and Beautiful!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Valerie,

Welcome to HubPages! It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.

Have you attended any Cinco de Mayo celebrations in New Hampshire?


Valerie T 3 years ago

Not yet, I don't know if there are celebrations up here. It'll be one year in late March for us.

I will be making my own Cinco de Mayo Celebration at my home for a moms group I'm in.

They are in for a treat!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Valerie,

Thanks for visiting again. Having your own Cinco be Mayo celebration sounds like a fun idea!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

Cinco de Mayo seems to be a bigger deal here in Southern California than in Mexico. I would even say it's the main Mexican holiday here and always a great excuse to party. Voting this Up and Useful.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Aurelio (alocsin),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. Cinco de Mayo is a much bigger holiday in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties than it is anywhere in Mexico. It's a great party day!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Interesting to read. Cinco de Mayo sounds like great fun and a triumph of victory. Great hub, voted up and shared.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub. I appreciate your support of my writing.

Cinco de Mayo is a fun holiday. The mariachi music and folk dancing are wonderful!


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi Daisy,

How interesting, I have never heard of this Mexican celebration Cinco de Mayo. i have heard of and seen on tv mariachi bands which I love. The history is all fascinating and well researched, great stuff! Antonio is definitely a favorite and well chosen for some serious eye candy and one of the sexiest male voices - hot or what!!!

Great job, voted up, useful, interesting, shared and pinned!!


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

hi daisy, thanks for this hub that goes into the history behind cinco de mayo provide such excellent and accurate information. i remembering being in Spanish class and learning about Cinco De Mayo and what it means to different people. thanks and voted up.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Suzanne (Suzie HQ),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. Cinco deMayo has become more of an American holiday than a Mexican one. It's celebrated in more places in the United States than it is in Mexico.

I've managed to add Antonio to more than one of my articles. He certainly helps my readership.

The area in which I live in Southern California has a number of cities with Spanish names. I live in the city of Mission Viejo. A city which borders ours is Rancho Santa Margarita. Two streets in Rancho Santa Margarita which intersect each other are "Antonio" and "Banderas." I'll have to drive over there and take a photograph of the street signs.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Torri Lynn,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Cinco de Mayo celebrations are a lot of fun. Why don't you search the Internet and see if you can find a celebration near where you live?


Elias Zanetti profile image

Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

Great hub! Very informative and interesting! And the photos are wonderful! Voted up & awesome!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Elias,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I appreciate it.


shin_rocka04 profile image

shin_rocka04 3 years ago from Maryland

What an awesome read. This post made me want some horchata. LOL. Voted up and shared!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

shin_rock04,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub. I appreciate it. Enjoy your horchata!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

Very interesting information here, Daisy. I love the photos and videos. BTW my daughter had a mariachi band play at her wedding. I love the upbeat music of the horns. UP/I and sharing.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Denise,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in so many locations in the county in which I live. It's difficult deciding where to go in order to celebrate the holiday.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 3 years ago from UK

It's always great to learn something new- and I certainly did from this interesting hub. Thank you Daisy your series on national holidays is a treasure!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mohan (Docmo),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I appreciate your continuous support of my writing.

I know how much you value learning. I'm so happy that you learned something new from reading my Hub!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Daisy,

It is timely that I am reading this hub of yours on Cinco de Mayo day...the 5th of May. You are right in that it is celebrated with gusto in Houston where we live as well as other places in the U.S. It was interesting to me that it is not celebrated the same way in Mexico. Up, interesting and would have liked to share but the buttons were missing.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Peggy,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Sometimes the "share buttons" take a bit of time to appear. They were there when I accessed my article to reply to your comment.

Have fun celebrating Cinco de Mayo!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Incredible facts here and with such a lovely photo, you added in detail worth a read and lost of effort put into this hub well done!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Devika (DDE),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I appreciate your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my Hub.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina

Very well presented, Daisy. I enjoyed the facts you've offered here, as well as the lovely video! I love the photo with the colorful dresses. UP/I and shared.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 2 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

It is worth-sharing and an eye-opener for those who are not acquainted with Mexican-France war.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Denise,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

I was glad I found the photo of the dancers to include in my Hub. I really like it. It's one of the best photos I've ever found on Wikipedia.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ireno (travel man1971),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 2 years ago from Western NC

Growing up Latina and being a Spanish-speaker, I love telling my students the story of the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de mayo. :)

Nice write up! Just thought I'd stop by! I actually have a little time before summer school starts up - been teaching and in graduate school and swamped. :)

Good to see ya!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Cyndi (cclitgirl),

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment.

I live less than two hours from the Mexican border. One time I was on a local bus in a city in my county, and a man sitting in the row in front of me turned around and asked me if I spoke English. He said he needed directions and wasn't sure if he could find someone on the bus who spoke English.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 19 months ago from Nashville Tn.

It gives me pure pleasure to return to your hub about Cinco de Mayo as May 5th approaches. Growing up in Los Angeles I was fortunate to be a part of this colorful, festive holiday. Thanks again Daisy and will happily continue to share your informative hub.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 19 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Audrey (vocalcoach),

Thanks for reading my article another time and posting your comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

When I first moved to California, I attended the Cinco de Mayo festivities on Olvera Street in Los Angeles. What a fun time!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 19 months ago from North Carolina

Happy Cinco de Mayo 2015, Daisy. A nice review of the facts today. :) Now I can be the 'best informed' at our C de M celebration next Tuesday. Enjoy your w/e.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 19 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Denise,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I'm glad you found my Hub to be informative.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 7 months ago from New Delhi, India

Very well presented hub!

I enjoyed going through the facts you have provided here. The pictures and video is just wonderful. I love the colourful costumes.

Thanks for sharing this interesting hub!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 7 months ago from Bicol, Philippines

Looking back at world history, this momentous event should never be forgotten. Thanks for sharing!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 7 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Chitrangada,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I live in Southern California and have visited the Plaza del Pueblo de Los Angeles in the Olvera Street area a number of times. The most exciting time was at Cinco de Mayo.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 7 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ireno (travel_man1971),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 7 months ago from Dubai

An interesting and informative hub about Cinco de Mayo. I enjoy reading your educational hubs and I have learned a lot through them.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 7 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I appreciate your very kind words about my writing. I enjoy doing the research for, and writing, what I like to call "gently educational" Hubs.

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