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The truth about “Cinco de Mayo”

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Recently I read an article on how this tourist planned his trip to Mexico to specifically be here to be part of the Cinco de Mayo Celebration, but to his surprise, there were no fireworks, parades nor mariachis, then he learned Cinco de Mayo is the biggest Mexican celebration in the United States but contraire to what many people assume is not the Mexican Independence Day. Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the Mexico against the French Army at the Batalla de Puebla Battle of Puebla in 1862. Yes, we know you are wondering what was France doing in Mexico… let us explain you a little bit more.

In 1861, Mexican President Benito Juárez declared that Mexico was suspending the payment of all its foreign debt for two years due to a fiscal crisis, and even though Juárez had said payments would resume in 1863, Great Britain, France and Spain were not satisfied. The British and Spanish backed off, but France insisted on using force to secure its debt payments. French Emperor Napoleon III named a relative of his, Archduke Maximillian of Austria, as ruler of Mexico.

As the French Army was marching toward Mexico City, they encountered stiff resistance. On May 5, 1862, General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French Army in the Battle of Puebla. The Mexican victory was a surprise, for the French Army was and larger and better equipped. Mexico won this battle, but the French won others, and Maximillian became Emperor in 1864. But facing Mexican resistance and American pressure, the French withdrew its troops in 1867.

Each year the Battle of Puebla is celebrated in Mexico with parades and popular fiestas, but is not even close to the celebration held in the United States, where Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate the culture, achievements and experiences of people with a Mexican background, who live in the United States.

Cinco de Mayo is a time to recognize the bravery of those who fight against oppression. It is a festival of Mexican pride and heritage. Perhaps that is why this holiday is popular wherever there are people of Mexican descent.

Now that you know the reality behind this celebration, join the Fiesta and enjoy a good tequila, traditional dishes and mariachi music! If you are in Punta Mita, we recommend Si Señor for a true Mexican dining experience.

Happy Cinco de Mayo from LivePuntaMita!

 


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