Tuesday, May 5, 2009

today is . . .

besides being the fifth day of may, what exactly is cinco de mayo?

pardon me a sec while i google . . .

ok, i'm back & here's what i found:
Cinco de Mayo, celebrated on the 5th of May, commemorates the triumph of a small Mexican army over French forces in an 1862 battle.

The Battle at Puebla took place only 14 years after the United States defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American War. With a weakened army and lagging national pride, the odds were against the Mexican people. But when French forces, backed by Emperor Napoleon III, marched on Mexico City and threatened to turn it into a French monarchy, the Mexican people quickly organized. Led by Mexico’s former Secretary of War, Ignacio Zaragoza, the Mexican army first fought the French invaders at Acultzingo on April 28. They were forced to withdraw, but quickly regrouped in the strategic city of Puebla. On May 5th, despite the exhaustion of the troops and meager resources, the 33-year-old general and his army forced the invaders to retreat.

After this defeat, the United States pledged military support to the Mexican army in the form of troops, weapons and ammunition to oust the French and send them home. Since then, the Mexican people and government have pledged their military support to the United States when crises have arisen, solidifying a partnership that began on May 5th, 1862.

Why Do We Celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
Although the victory of the “Batalla de Puebla” (Battle of Puebla) did not win the war (the Mexicans continued to fight for the next five years before expelling the French in 1867), it was an inspirational example of how the Mexicans were strong enough to fight against all odds. It is a popular misconception that Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican Independence Day holiday--but it is not--that date is September 16.

Although Cinco de Mayo was a notable day in Mexican history, it is not a nationally recognized holiday in Mexico and is not widely celebrated there. In fact, the largest and most popular celebrations of Cinco de Mayo take place in the United States, where the holiday also serves as an opportunity to celebrate Mexican heritage and culture.

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