Remember: Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico's Independence Day! | History in a Nutshell Extra


Cinco de Mayo is commonly mistaken for Mexico's Independence Day. What is the difference?

May 5 commemorates the miraculous Mexican victory against Imperialist French forces at the Battle of Puebla. On May 5, 1862, 2,000 Mexicans under command of General Ignacio Zaragoza fended off the much larger French invasion force of 6,000 men! This truly underdog feat during the Second Franco-Mexican War became a source of courage, pride and resilience for the Latino community in the U.S.

In Mexico, the holiday is not called Cinco de Mayo, but El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla). In Mexico, it is a regional holiday only celebrated in Puebla. Surprisingly, Puebla is not home to the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration - that honor goes to Los Angeles, California! While school children in Mexico get the day off, it is business as usual for everyone else.

Mexico’s Independence Day on the other hand is observed on September 16- that day commemorates the "Grito de Delores" (Cry of Dolores) in 1810, which initiated the war of Mexican Independence from Spain.

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