True meaning of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo or the fifth of May commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

Many Americans, however, confuse May 5 with Mexican Independence Day though in fact Mexican independence was declared 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. Mexican Independence Day is commemorated on Sept. 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

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