What you may not know about Cinco De Mayo

Cinco_de_MayoMay has arrived and as we look towards Summer, we also pause to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  Cinco de Mayo (May 5) celebrates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla (1862).  The French army invaded Mexico in an attempt to expand the French empire and used the outstanding Mexican debt as the open door to do so.  Mexico had gained independence from Spain just 41 years prior and was still in considerable debt to several countries.  Despite being outnumbered, poorly organized and significantly outgunned, the Mexican militia was victorious in the battle.  This was substantial, as the French army was highly regarded at the time.  It was indeed something to be proud of!  Although this victory did not signify the end of the French invasion, no other European military force has attempted to invade North America since.

To this day, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans alike share in celebrating the Mexican militia victory in the Battle of Puebla.  Current day celebrations focus on Mexican heritage, food and music.   Such celebrations can be found scattered throughout Mexico and the United States.  Adults break into song and dance with maracas and may participate in mariachi bands.  You’ll find the Mexican flag colors (red, white and green) prominent in décor.  Parades and reenactments are held in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

Check with your local groups on base or heritage clubs to see what events may be planned.  If nothing strikes your fancy, consider having a celebration at home!  Many families hold a feast to celebrate, complete with traditional dishes such as enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tortillas and salsa.  Invite some friends over for a taco bar!  Turn up some music or make some of your own!  Both piñatas and maracas can be made at home ahead of time with relative ease, providing a fun craft experience for children as they learn more about the Battle and Mexican heritage.  As the adults enjoy the feast and time together with friends and family, the children can celebrate too as they take a swing at a homemade piñata!

Mix up the horchatas for the chicos and pour yourself a margarita!  It’s time to celebrate the brave 4,500 who fought for their country!

%d bloggers like this: