ETHNIC TECHNOLOGIES CELEBRATES CINCO DE MAYO
10 Facts about Cinco de Mayo
1. Cinco de Mayo Isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day
Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexican Independence Day, but it actually commemorates an important battle during the France-Mexican War that took place in a town called Puebla. The Mexican Army, who were considered the underdogs, ended up overtaking the French and came out victorious. Mexican Independence Day, on the other hand, actually occurred on September 16, 1810—about 50 years earlier.
2. Mexicans Don’t Call It Cinco de Mayo
Although Cinco de Mayo translates to the Fifth of May, which is when the holiday is celebrated in Puebla, Mexico where it originated; that’s not actually what folks call it there. Instead, the official name of the holiday is El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, or “The Day of the Battle of Puebla” in English.
3. The Mexican Army Beat Crazy Odds
The Mexican Army was largely outnumbered and poorly supplied. In fact, they were known as a rag-tag army who only had outdated guns. And yet, as few as 2000 soldiers—some of whom hid behind tall cactus plants—defeated 6,000 French soldiers during the battle, which lasted from daybreak to early evening.
4. The General Was Honored in a Special Way
Ignacio Zaragoza was the Mexican general who led the army that defeated the French on May 5, 1862. He was born in what’s now Goliad in southern Texas and was only 33 years old when he led his troops to victory. Puebla was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in his honor.
5. Families in California Partied First
A few weeks after the Battle of Puebla, Americans and Latinos in California heard about the brave efforts of Mexican soldiers through newspaper reports. Residents in the state were excited, and they celebrated with parades of people dressed in Civil War uniforms. In Northern California, one town partied with drinks, food, and banquets—it was most likely the first Cinco de Mayo fiesta in the United States!
6. FDR Helped Commercialize Cinco de Mayo
Although it was celebrated in the United States just weeks after the Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo wasn’t officially recognized in the U.S. until 1933. That’s when President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped create the “Good Neighbor Policy” which aimed to establish positive exchanges and relationships with our Latin American neighbors.
7. Mexico Celebrates the Military on May 5
While Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with food, drinks, and partying in the United States, Mexicans take a slightly different approach. The holiday is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla and in addition to food and drinks, locals put on a military parade with people dressed as French and Mexican soldiers, cheer on brightly colored floats, and reenact the battle on its original site.
8. It’s All About the Mole Sauce
Sure, tacos are a staple at any Cinco de Mayo party in the U.S., but in Mexico, there’s one meal that stands above the rest. The holiday’s most beloved dish is mole poblano, a sauce made with dozens of ingredients including chili peppers and chocolate served over chicken. To celebrate to the fullest, Puebla hosts the International Mole Festival—a two-day festival where celebrity chefs explain how to create the ultimate mole.
9. The United States Takes Everything Up a Notch
Cinco de Mayo is largely a regional holiday in Mexico. But the United States holds coast-to-coast celebrations, especially in cities that have a large population of Mexican Americans like Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Antonio. In fact Denver’s celebration is believed to be one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations anywhere, with an estimated 400,000 people attending over two days to participate in parades, carnival rides, and a taco eating contest. According to the California Avocado Commission, we eat close to 80 million lbs. of avocados on May 5th every year!
10. Most Festive “Mexican” Foods Enjoyed in the U.S. Aren’t Actually Mexican
Did you know that there are more than 48,000 Mexican restaurants in the United States? Cinco de Mayo is a perfect day for these eateries to celebrate Mexican food, but what many Americans think of as Mexican cuisine (e.g., ground beef tacos, nachos, burritos, etc.,) is actually “Tex-Mex,” which is a uniquely American culinary blend of popularized Texas foods inspired by the Tejanos people.
Source: Parents.com; History.com
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