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The Surprising True History Behind Cinco de Mayo

The celebrations can be traced back to the Civil War

Today, Cinco de Mayo’s actual meaning can be easily lost in an abundance of margaritas—which might cause celebrants to completely overlook the real history of the holiday, which dates back to strife in 19th-century Mexico and the effect of the American Civil War on Latinos living in what’s now the Southwest.

The Battle of Puebla took place on 5 May 1862, The Mexican victory is celebrated yearly on the fifth of May. Its celebration is regional in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is celebrated as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). Although this holiday remains very popular in the United States where it is celebrated yearly as Cinco de Mayo.

“Cinco de Mayo is part of the Latino experience of the American Civil War,” he says. “It’s not about the Mexican experience.” The holiday, which is often misconstrued as the Mexican Fourth of July, Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, which occurs on September 16.



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