Cinco de Mayo: A celebration more American than Mexican

Mexican Cinco de Mayo Feast
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Cinco de Mayo, May 5, celebrates the Battle of Puebla — where the Mexican Army fought and triumphed over the invading French Army.

Though May 5 marks one of the most important events in Mexican history, the date is actually more celebrated in the United States than in Mexico itself.

Take a look at these curious facts about the Battle of Puebla:

• Cinco de Mayo is a true David vs. Goliath story. The Battle of Puebla occurred in 1862, and it was truly an unexpected success for Mexico. Their defeat of the French Army was thought to be impossible at the time; the French hadn’t lost a battle in 50 years at that point.

• Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. The actual Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16, when the Grito de Dolores (Dolores’ Cry) is commemorated. It marks the 1810 event that began Mexico’s War of Independence.

• According to Smithsonian magazine, more than one person has claimed to have invented Margaritas. Carlos “Danny” Herrera created the drink for an actress in his Tijuana restaurant in 1938. The cocktail is now a staple of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

• The Battle of Puebla might be the most important Mexican holiday on an international scale. Countries like France, Great Britain, Canada, Japan and Australia celebrate this date of Mexican pride hosting events and festivals.

• Cinco de Mayo sounds like “sink of the mayo” to the ears of English natives, referring to this dressing which is so valued by Mexicans. Social media gets filled with images of mahonesa (mayo) jars – especially Hellmann’s – and tacos, which are the main dish to greet friends and celebrate during the day. The joke continues with the story of the Titanic supposedly sinking with 12.000 jars of Hellmann’s mayo in it. These jars would have been shipped to Veracruz if the luxury transatlantic had arrived at its destination in New York in 1912.

Enjoy the great holiday! Philadelphia is celebrating with plenty of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

This story first appeared in our sister publication, El Correo NY

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