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Cinco de Mayo, May 5, federal holiday in Mexico. Fiesta vector banner design with Mexican floral traditional elements. Ornate folk graphic. Lettering ornamental sign for poster, greeting card

Source: Elena Iakovleva / Getty

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

On tomorrow’s date (May 5) in 1862, the Mexican army won a hard-fought battle against France in the Franco-Mexican War. The French, headed by Napoleon III, attempted to establish territory in Mexico because of defaulted reimbursement payments that Mexico owed them. While Mexico also owed Spain and Britain, France was the only country attempting to force the issue with its military.

As a result of that victory, Mexico was able to maintain its territory, in what would eventually be remembered as Cinco de Mayo. It’s also known as the Battle of Puebla Day.

It is not, as it’s incorrectly assumed to be by many, Mexican Independence Day, which falls on September 16.

Today, Cinco de Mayo has somewhat defaulted into observation and commemoration of Mexican culture. The irony, however, is that it’s typically celebrated more in America than it is in Mexico. At least, for the most part.

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In Puebla de Los Angeles, Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is still a huge deal. This small town in central Mexico was the location of a very significant victory for the Mexican side of the war. Although vastly outnumbered, the battle at Puebla ended when the French retreated, having lost more than 500 men in an attack that they expected to win easily. This victory for Mexico was essential in the overall war, and thus a location that celebrates the historic win to this day.

In the United States, areas that have significant populations of Mexican-Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo as a day of recognition of their ancestry. On this day every year across the country, people come together to party, kick off parades and indulge in traditional Mexican food, music and dancing.

So, if you have Mexican-American friends, or if you simply want to indulge yourself in their culture, find some time to hang out at a place celebrating Cinco de Mayo! With the holiday falling on a Friday this time around there’s really no excuse to keep you from learning and experiencing something new!

Information from History.com was used in this post. To see their report, [click here].

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So, What Exactly is Cinco de Mayo?  was originally published on wzakcleveland.com