Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the day of a small battle between the people of Puebla against the French in the Franco-Mexican war in the 19th century. A rich, cultural tradition that’s full of fun, Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) is a fiesta that everyone can enjoy celebrating.

Cinco de Mayo is mostly celebrated in the U.S. and Puebla, Mexico, where the Battle of Puebla took place, a Mexican victory over the French. The holiday has become a time to appreciate Mexican culture and heritage. It is common knowledge in the U.S. that the name of this celebration is Spanish for the fifth day of May.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla. In the United States, it’s celebrated on a much larger scale, especially in those cities with a significant Mexican population.


The holiday commemorates a military victory when Mexico defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The holiday marks the fact that, on this day in 1862, Mexico struck a blow against the invaders.” Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, an ill-equipped army of Mexican troops fought valiantly against the opposing French forces, who were three times greater in number and better armed.

Although the French lost the battle, they won the war and eventually gained control of Mexico City. Four years later, the French withdrew their troops as a result of protests from Mexican citizens and pressure from the United States. By 1867, the Mexican government regained ruling power over its own country.

Mexican Customs for Celebrating

There’s a massive parade in Puebla, where thousands of locals gather and dress as French and Mexican soldiers to reenact the war. After the Mexican troops win, celebrations begin with music, dancing, and food. There are dozens of brightly-colored floats in the parade. And of course, tons of piñatas are filled with candies and cookies.

Spend time learning Spanish and more about the history of Mexico, and spread the true history behind the holiday with others. They wear red, white, and green to represent the colors on the Mexican flag, however by no means should you wear any items with the actual flag on them since it’s illegal to do so in Mexico. However, items with just the eagle emblem from the flag are okay to wear.

Food is a big part of the celebration, including salsa and chips and, of course, an icy cold margarita. Tacos are the most common Mexican dish, however truly authentic ones are only served on flour or corn tortillas with chicken or beef and always include tomato, jalapeno, and onion. Mole, the national dish of Mexico is eaten, it is a sauce made from chilis, sautéed garlic and onions, groundnuts, and spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, and cumin. Chocolate is usually added to darker versions as well. Elote is eaten, corn on the cob slathered in the crema, Cotija cheese, lime, and chili powder, is often served during celebrations to make it easier for festival-goers to eat while dancing.

They drink Mexican beers such as Dos Equis, Tecate, and Indio. You can also enjoy a michelada, which is a bright, refreshing light beer beverage that mixes lime juice, hot sauce, and savory items such as Worcestershire sauce and salt.

The United States is an incredibly diverse country, no doubt about it. So, let’s be better about the way we celebrate all the wonderful cultures that exist in this country and work toward respecting our differences in a considerate way.

Suggested Read: May Day Festival

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.