Cinco de Mayo: What it is, and what it isn’t.


Turns out, there is.

And when it comes to Cinco de Mayo — the annual fiesta that gives Americans an excuse to load up on tacos and margaritas — people ask a LOT of them.

Cinco = 5. de Mayo = of May. So, May 5.

Cinco de Mayo.

On Cinco de Mayo.

*Sigh. On Cinco de Mayo.

We’ve been through this already.

There was no Cinco de Mayo war.

The holiday celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It was a relatively minor battle — the French reclaimed Puebla a year later — but a symbolic one because a small Mexican army defeated a larger occupying force. By 1867, Mexican troops had driven France from the country.

Many Americans assume Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. It’s not. That holiday falls on September 16 and commemorates the Grito de Dolores, a priest’s ringing of a church bell in the town of Dolores in 1810 that triggered Mexico’s War of Independence from Spain.

No. Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a three-day holiday in which families across Mexico gather to remember deceased friends and family members. It’s usually held from October 31 to November 2.

Wherever you want it to be. If your party game is strong, Cinco de Mayo could even be a state of mind.

But speaking literally … probably your neighborhood bar.

And our absolute favorite question …

We give up.

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