Cinco de Mayo — It was the “5th of May” when Mexico defeated the French army in 1862 at The Battle of Puebla.
Cinco de Mayo in Spanish — is a national holiday in Mexico, although it is generally celebrated in Mexican-American communities in the U.S. on a much larger scale. It commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory was an important step for Mexico in her fight for independence. Today in Mexico, and in Mexican-American communities, May 5 brings celebrations, fiestas, and parades.
Fun Facts About Cinco de Mayo
- It is often confused with the Mexican Independence Day, which occurred on September 16, 1810, about 50 years earlier.
- Cinco de Mayo is one of more than 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent.
- The holiday was popularized in the U.S. in part by Chicano activists in the 1960s and 1970s, who identified with the Mexican Indian and mestizo (people of Mexican Indian and European descent) soldiers’ triumph over European conquest attempts.
- Cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston host annual Cinco de Mayo festivities that draw hundreds of thousands of celebrants.
Other Interesting Facts About Mexico & Cinco de Mayo: (http://www.purpletrail.com/partytrail/holiday_parties/cinco_de_mayo/cinco-de-mayo-trivia-facts)
- Mexican community celebrates more then 365 festivals each year. Cinco de mayo is one of them.
- Did you know Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
- Around 28.3 million of U.S. residents were of Mexican origin in 2006. These residents constituted 9 percent of the nation’s total population and 64 percent of the Hispanic population.
- Approximately 630,000 of Mexican-Americans are U.S. military veterans.
- The Maya in Central Mexico were the first people known to harvest and use the peanut.
- Pineapple and papayas grew wild in Mexico, and were introduced to the rest of the world by Spanish explorers
- Around the 1860s, three American travelers began exporting resin from the Zapote Blanco tree in Mexico after they noticed that it hardened when exposed to air. The men found a way to turn it into a waxy substance, added flavors and sweeteners, and sold it in small balls for a penny apiece — calling it Adam’s Chewing Gum from New York. Today, Americans chew seven times more gum than the rest of the world.
- Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, is where the Mexican Hat Dance, sombreros and mariachi music are believed to have originated.
- The vanilla bean comes from an orchid plant discovered by Mexican Indians (they used it to add flavor to their cocoa and corn drinks.) The world’s largest crop of vanilla beans still comes from Mexico.
CINCO DE MAYO: QUICK FACTS AND HISTORY
(kaboose.com) Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, here are some quick facts and history:
Cinco de Mayo means “the fifth of May.” Many people believe it is Mexico’s Independence Day, but that is incorrect. (Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16.) Rather, Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of a battle that took place between the Mexicans and the French in 1862.
The battle is known as the Battle of Puebla, and it celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French. It also marks a turning point in Mexican national pride. A small, poorly armed group of about 4,500 men were able to stop the French invasion of a well-equipped French army that had about 6,500 or even 8,000 soldiers. The victory made the Mexican people very happy, and helped create a feeling of national unity.
While Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico, it is mainly observed in the state capital of Puebla. However, in the United States, it is becoming a popular holiday to celebrate Mexican culture. Kids and families can try delicious Mexican food, listen and dance to Mexican music, make and admire Mexican art, and shop for fun souvenirs and products at markets called “Mercado.”
The largest Cinco de Mayo event in the world is held in Los Angeles, California, where more than 600,000 people celebrate with music and food. The whole event is called Festival de Fiesta Broadway. Two other big festival are held far from Mexico, in Denver, Colorado, and St Paul’s, Minnesota, but they draw hundreds of thousands of participants.
The Cinco de Mayo festival in Chandler, Arizona, is known for its Chihuahuas! There are Chihuahua parade, races and pageants. At the end, a King and Queen of the Chihuahuas are crowned.
There aren’t any specific foods associated with Cinco de Mayo, but traditional Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, burritos, guacamole and tacos are popular.
Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, is where the Mexican Hat Dance, sombreros and mariachi music are believed to have originated.
A Mexican cowboy is called a “charro.” A Mexican rodeo is called a “charreada.”
In pre-Columbian times (before Mexico was colonized by Europeans), the inhabitants of what is now Mexico had a richly developed artistic tradition. For example, the Mayans were known for their detailed calendar, wall paintings, and architecture that included stone palaces and temples. The Olmec are often credited with inventing writing, and created incredible jade art. The Aztec were known for goldwork, magnificent stone buildings and beautiful fabrics. These artistic traditions live on in Mexico today.
The population of Mexico is more than 106 million.
The Mexican flag is green, white and red. The traditional meaning of the colors is thought to be that green stands for hope and the independence movement; white for purity and religion and red for Spain and union. The emblem in the middle consists of an eagle and a snake, based on an Aztec legend.
Do you know Mexico is sinking? Mexico’s capital, Mexico City (one of the world’s largest cities) is sinking — some of its buildings by as much as 4 to 12 inches a year. The city was once an Aztec capital on an island surrounded by a shallow lake. When the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes captured the city, he drained the lake. So Mexico City rests on soft land that continues to sink.
Five facts about Cinco de Mayo
Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Here are five facts to help you understand the importance of this often misunderstood holiday. What’s the big deal about Cinco de Mayo — literally translated as the fifth of May? Here’s what you need to know to celebrate the day:
1. Cinco de Mayo IS NOT Mexico’s Independence Day.
Most Americans confuse this holiday with Mexico’s Independence Day, but that date is Sept. 16.
2. Cinco de Mayo IS a celebration of the Battle of Puebla.
The holiday commemorates the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).
3. Cinco de Mayo IS a celebrations of underdogs.
Why make such a big deal over one victory? The win at Puebla was a huge deal for Mexico because the Mexican Army went into the battle as underdogs. They had no training and no equipment and were vastly outnumbered against the well-armed, well-disciplined and well-funded French, who up until that point had defeated them at every turn. Yet, they prevailed.
4. Cinco de Mayo IS NOT really a big deal in Mexico.
With all of the fuss around May 5th here in the U.S., you would think it was the biggest holiday in Mexico — but that’s not the case. That honor goes to Mexican Independence Day. Still, Mexicans do celebrate the day with family get-togethers, fireworks, dancing and lots of yummy food.
5. Cinco de Mayo IS a holiday for everyone to celebrate.
Many towns around the U.S. have festivals, fiestas, dances, fireworks, food and music in honor of the holiday. It’s a great time to teach your kids about the culture, people and history of Mexico — or even learn a little yourself.