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Cinco de Mayo Is Not the Mexican Independence Day Research Paper

Updated on March 13, 2012

This Is a Research Paper

This is a research paper I wrote for Intro to Spanish 1 class on Summer of 2009 at CCBC Essex. The instructor was Aurora Qousar.

Following was the assignment instruction:

Research Paper - Students will be responsible for writing a short research paper (minimum of two pages double spaced) about one facet of life in a Spanish-Speaking country. This can include, but is not limited to: art, dress, food, literature, or music. This paper is to be written in English, and you will need to confirm your topic before beginning. The Research Paper will need to be presented with a cover page and a reference page.

Cinco de Mayo Is Not the Mexican Independence Day

Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day as many people misunderstand it. Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday to celebrate the victory over a battle of a Mexican army over French army. The battle was significant enough to be designated as a holiday because the Mexican soldiers were greatly outnumbered by the French soldiers, 4,000 to 8,000. The French army was known to be unbeatable at the time, holding the record of 50 years without any defeat (Philadelphia News).

As the name indicates, the battle celebrated by Cinco de Mayo took place on May 5th of 1862 in the state of Puebla (National Geographic). The battle was called the Battle of Puebla. The battle arose when the Mexicans refused to pay the debt they owed to France. As the response to the refusal, France sent its army to force Mexico to pay the debt (Wikipedia).

Contrary to its popularity in U.S.A., Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday of Mexico. It is not widely celebrated throughout Mexico, neither. Rather, it is a regional holiday that is celebrated especially in the State of Puebla where the battle took place (National Geographic). In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated not only to celebrate the Battle of Puebla, but rather to celebrate the Mexican culture (Southern California Quarterly). It is one of the holidays which celebrate the different cultures in America. Other cultural holidays celebrated by in America include Saint Patrick's Day of Irish culture, Oktoberfest for German culture, and the Chinese New Year for the Chinese and other Asian culture. And like other cultural holidays, Cinco de Mayo events taking place throughout the U.S.A. are supported by government officials; including the president of the U.S.A. Events even take place in the White House (Wikipedia).

Though the Cinco de Mayo originated to celebrate the glorious victory of the Mexican army, many companies take advantage of this glorious holiday. For example, Cinco de Mayo is no longer the day to remember the meaning of the Battle of Puebla, but rather a day to drink Mexican beer and eat Mexican food. Companies interested in marketing Mexican goods use this holiday to advertise their products. To those companies, Cinco de Mayo is a big sales day like the Christmas (Wikipedia).

There are some countries outside Mexico and U.S.A that celebrate Cinco de Mayo as well. Those include Vancouver of Canada, Cayman Islands of Caribbean, and Island of Malta of Mediterranean Sea. In these countries, Cinco de Mayo is especially a day to market certain goods and have fun. These goods and fun include sky diving, air guitar contest, and Mexican beers (

Cinco de Mayo has lost its traditional meaning. Every year, more and more people are joining to celebrate this Mexican holiday to drink Mexican beers and enjoy Mexican culture. Even though the holiday doesn't remember the 4,000 soldiers who fought for their country, it is helping to promote Mexican culture and goods around the world. And as more and more people get to know the Mexican culture and want to know more about it, someday people will enjoy the true meaning of the Cinco de Mayo.


  1. "Cinco de Mayo is not just a fiesta anymore, the gringos have taken it on as a good sales pitch." Smithsonian Institution paper Accessed May 8, 2007. "It's a commercial entry point for people who want to penetrate the Latino market," said Felix Gutierrez, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles." Accessed May 8, 2007.
  2. National Geographic: Defeat of French forces by Mexican Army Retrieved February 6, 2009.
  3. Philadelphia News Article reporting Mexican were outnumbered 2-to-1 The Bulletin: Philadelphia's Family Newspaper, "Cinco de Mayo: Join in the Celebration on the Fifth of May", May 7, 2009. By Cheryl VanBuskirk. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  4. Southern California Quarterly "Cinco de Mayo's First Seventy-Five Years in Alta California: From Spontaneous Behavior to Sedimented Memory, 1862 to 1937" Spring 2007 (see American observation of Cinco de Mayo started in California) accessed October 30, 2007. See also History of observance of Cinco de Mayo in United States accessed May 9, 2009.
  5. "The anniversary of the victory is celebrated only sporadically in Mexico" - National Geographic Accessed December 4, 2007


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    • eventsyoudesign profile image

      eventsyoudesign 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      Great article and very informative. I did not know the facts about "Cinco de Mayo" and now I do. I just thought like everyone else and now I can see it in a different light. I have to admit I don't like beer but I do enjoy the Mexican food. Thanks for sharing. Teresa

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      Chris 7 years ago

      Thanks to whomever for the blessing of a day focused on drinking and eating. Whether it's Tequila or something else. Enjoy.