History of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is frequently regarded as the Mexican equivalent of the United States 4th of July. This is incorrect. In actuality, it is the equivalent of the "5th of May" in the Spanish language. Another misconception is that this has something to do with Mayonnaise. That too is a bum spread, as the condiment had its origin with the French, who will come into our story later. Nor does it have to do with County Mayo in Ireland, though we’ll make sure the Irish get into this story at some point. Rather, the "Battle of Cinco de Mayo" or specifically the Battle of Puebla, occurred on May 5, 1862.

Many believe that Cinco de Mayo is universally celebrated in Mexico as a day of independence. This is wrong on two counts. First, the call for Mexican independence, the Grito de Dolores, was made by Miguel Hidalgo at the town of Dolores on September 16, 1810, though it was not recognized by the Spanish viceroy until 1821. Secondly, because it is not a federal holiday, Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico, except in Puebla, the largest city in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Elsewhere in Mexico it is observed with eating, drinking, and dancing. In the United States, however, it is widely recognized along the border states that have significant Mexican-American populations, especially in California, to celebrate Hispanic pride and culture, not unlike Irish-Americans do on St. Patrick’s Day.

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

About billpetro

Bill Petro has been a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.

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