Cinco de Mayo – 150th anniversary of the Battle of PueblaThursday, May 3rd, 2012
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrated annually on May 5th, as the name suggests. Some Americans confuse Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day, which is on September 16th.
May 5th is a commemoration of the Mexican victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 during the French-Mexican War (1861-1867).
The French army marching towards Mexico City was stopped by the relatively small and poorly equipped Mexican soldiers led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin. 4,500 Mexican men defeated a French army of 6,500 better trained and supplied soldiers. The Puebla victory stopped the French invasion of Mexico and united the Mexican people.
The victory didn’t last long, unfortunately. Napoleon III sent more French troops to Mexico and invaded the country shortly thereafter. As a result, the French designated Maximilian I as a ruler of Mexico and French influence in Mexico lasted well into the early 20th century under leaders like Porfirio Diaz. This French influence finally waned when the Mexican Revolution took hold in the early 1900s.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations today
Cinco de Mayo is not as popular in Mexico as it is in the U.S. In Mexico it is more of a regional holiday celebrated in the state of Puebla (Central Mexico). This year there will be a huge celebration in Puebla, as it marks the 150th anniversary of the victorious battle. The sesquicentennial will be marked with extra special fuerza by proud Poblanos.
Cinco de Mayo traditions include:
- mariachi music performances and
- street festivals.
In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is celebrated the most in the areas with high Mexican-American populations. People celebrate that day with Mexican culture, cuisine, music and beverages. Many non-Latinos go to Mexican restaurants and bars and down a cerveza mexicana or tequila or two.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the U.S.
Chicago celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a sizeable festival and parade. All events are held in Douglas Park at 1401 S. Sacramento Avenue from May 4th through May 6th.
More than 100,000 people attend the festival. The Cinco de Mayo festival features live music, and vendors offer food and beverages.
The Chicago Cinco de Mayo parade itself will be held this year on May 6th at noon. It runs through the heart of Pilsen on Cermak Rd. from Wood to Marshall Blvd.
The National Cinco de Mayo Festival – Salud en Cinco de Mayo Festival Nacional – takes place in Washington, DC at the Sylvan Theater at the base of the Washington Monument National Mall on May 5 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm.
Houston organizes a Cinco de Mayo 5K Run and Kid’s 1K Run/Walk on May 5th. It takes place at Bear Creek Park, Pavilion #6 and Bear Creek Dr. & North Golbow Dr. The 5K Run/Walk starts at 7:30AM and the Kids 1K starts at 8:15AM.
One of our V+ community partners – Talento Bilingüe de Houston – is hosting a Cinco de Mayo fundraiser this year. Valoramás plans on being there and so should all Houstonians to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and help a great organization!
The Fundraiser is honoring Dr. Luis Malpica y de LaMadrid, the Honorable General Consul of Mexico in Houston, and the 150th Anniversary of the “Battle of Puebla”.
Happy Cinco de Mayo celebrations!
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