Americans are familiar with the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo, but how many are familiar with the history behind it? On this day, celebrated May 5th, Mexicans recognize the victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
While many people treat this day as an excuse to drink tequila, the event is primarily a day of recognizing Mexican heritage and culture, particularly in southern parts of the United States with a large Mexican demographic.
The Exciting History Of Cinco de Mayo
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day. It commemorates the victory of just one battle. In 1862, a lawyer named Benito Juarez, a member of the Zapotec tribe was elected president of Mexico. Faced with the country’s devastating economy, he had to default on the debts owed to various European governments. France, Britain, and Spain ended up sending naval forces to Mexico to demand payment. While Britain and Spain ended up making negotiations, France would not back down.
The French ruler Napoleon III decided to exploit Mexico’s financial weakness and make an empire using Mexican territories. He sent French fleets to Veracruz, which forced President Juarez into retreat. But Juarez was able to round up some troops to fight back.
The Battle of Puebla was not a significant win in the overall struggle with France, but it was a celebratory occasion for the Mexican government. This symbolic victory is what Cinco de Mayo recognizes. The French did not officially withdraw from Mexico until 1867, under political pressure from the United States.
The Significance Of Cinco de Mayo
Understandably, Cinco de Mayo is significant to Puebla, the location of the famous battle. But Mexico’s actual Independence Day is observed on September 16th. Today, Cinco de Mayo is observed with more fervor and flair in the United States than in Mexico – likely because Texas and California are former Mexican territories.
There are still parades, festivals, and dancing in the land of Puebla today, where traditional Mexican food is served. There are also mariachi bands and plenty of drinks. Because of this, it’s also known as “Mexican Saint Patrick’s Day.” Mexican restaurants all over the country go all out for this festive occasion, with bands, meal deals, parties, and more.
While the victory is worth celebrating, it’s also important to recognize the harm on behalf of the colonizers who attempted to exploit vulnerable people by taking land that did not belong to them.
Cinco de Mayo In South Florida
Craving authentic Mexican food? Look no further than Tequila Sunrise Mexican Grill, one of Fort Lauderdale’s best locations for Mexican cuisine. We've got you covered for all the Cinco de Mayo festivities! From tacos to burritos, margaritas to beers, we have all the favorite flavors you love. At any other time, be sure to check out our happy hour, every day from 3 to 7. Your vegan friends and family members are also welcome – we have plenty of meatless Mexican meal options.
Need to make a reservation, or have questions about our catering services? Call us today at (954) 938-4473. We can’t wait to serve you!