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Cinco de Mayo

by Deva Tucker

 

I guess I fall into the category of most Americans when asked what Cinco de Mayo means. Got this one! High school Spanish class, the 5th of May, BINGO. For the importance of this day, I just assumed it was the Mexican equivalent of America’s 4th of July. Boy was I wrong.

Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th. The May 5th celebration commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862 when the Mexican army defeated French forces. 6,000 French troops invaded the small east-central town of Puebla de Los Angeles, trying to seize some land to settle an unpaid war debt. The battle lasted from sunrise to sunset. When the dust settled, the ragtag Mexican army of 2,000 men prevailed. Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday in Mexico. Although the day still commemorated in Puebla, it seems to be more widely celebrated in the United States.

To many Mexican-Americans, Cinco de Mayo is a wonderful celebration of their Mexican heritage, traditions, culture, and pride. The perseverance, commitment, and tenacity of those 2,000 Mexican soldiers is a great message for all of us. And who doesn’t love another reason to eat some really good Mexican food.

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