Is Cinco de Mayo In The US A Public Holiday?
Cinco de Mayo in the US is not a public holiday according to Holidays 2025, and stores, shops, and businesses open as usual on this day. Moreover, public transport also follows its usual route throughout the country. However, parades and celebrations can sometimes cause disruptions in regular traffic in certain places.
Why Is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?
The wars of 1846-48 and 1858-61 nearly bankrupted the Mexican Treasury, as a result of which the then President suspended the repayment of all foreign debts for two years beginning from 1861. Britain, Spain, and France reacted by sending their naval forces to Veracruz for reimbursements. While the former two negotiated and withdrew from Mexico, France took this as an opportunity to rule over Mexico under the leadership of Napoleon III. They hoped to establish a new Mexican empire which would be in favour of the French interests.
At the time, the Battle of Puebla took place when a well-armed French army landed in Veracruz in the late 1861 and forced the Mexican government to retreat. As they marched towards Mexico, they faced an obstacle in their path in the form of the Mexican army under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. Despite the considerable difference in their numbers, the Mexican army defeated the French on 5 May 1862. This boosted their morale enough that despite the subsequent loss, the Mexicans kept fighting for their freedom until they finally received it. However, these battles have no connection with the Mexican Independence Day.
Then When Is The Mexican Independence Day?
Many Americans believe that the celebration of Cinco de Mayo in the US is the commemoration of the Mexican Independence Day. However, in reality, Independence Day in Mexico fell on 16 September and was declared years ago, in 1810; long before the Battle of Puebla.
Significance of the Battle of Puebla
This battle played an essential role in the history of several countries. The minor army of 4000 Mexicans overthrew the undefeated massive French army of 8000. Moreover, without the support of the French, the Confederacy surrendered later on. It is also believed by many historians that no European country invaded the Americas ever since the Battle of Puebla.
How Is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?
Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, but it is celebrated with much enthusiasm in America as well. During the civil wars, this day was about pride and coming together to celebrate their culture. However, since the 1980s, Cinco de Mayo in the US has been commercialized by beverage companies. There is a visible rise in the amount of alcohol consumption throughout the country on this day. Other forms of celebration include parades, costume parties, and enjoying Mexican food and drinks. The ethnicity and culture of Mexico can be seen throughout America on Cinco de Mayo, and people celebrate their traditions through competitions, dance, mariachi music, and more. A reenactment of the Battle of Puebla is also held in places, sometimes. Americans of Mexican descent utilize this day in educating their children on their culture.
Cinco de Mayo Facts & Trivia
- Many believe that Napoleon III wanted to set Puebla as his base camp. At the same time, he sent help to the Confederate Army in the American Civil War.
- Even though the Mexicans won the Battle of Puebla, they lost the war. It took them 5 years to finally be freed of the French.
- Although President Benito Juárez declared this day to be a national holiday in Mexico, it is no longer considered one.
- The celebrations of Cinco de Mayo in Mexico are held on a much smaller scale, and it is instead considered a military holiday.
- Cinco de Mayo in the US truly picked up pace after the introduction of “Good Neighbor Policy” by President Roosevelt.
- When Mexican miners in California heard the news of this victory, they fired shots to show their jubilance.
- The first Cinco de Mayo celebrations took place in California, in 1863, and the most significant commemoration of the day takes place in Los Angeles every year.
- Beer companies, majorly Corona, are responsible for commodifying the holiday as they focused on the victorious nature of the day and created ads surrounding it.
- Without the victory of the Mexicans during the Battle of Puebla, the outcome of the Civil Wars in the Americas could have been very different.
- The French army had been undefeated for 50 years but lost not only due to the bravery of the Mexican soldiers but also the incompetence and arrogance of French General Lorencez.
Cinco de Mayo Observances
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1. Why is Cinco de Mayo important to the United States?
Cinco de Mayo, also known as the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, is a holiday celebrated in parts of Mexico and the United States in memory of a military victory over Napoleon III’s French forces in 1862.
2. What are 3 typical foods served at Cinco de Mayo?
Green Pozole with Chicken, Cemita Poblana, Guacamole, Horchata, Enchiladas Verdes, Fish Tacos are some of the featured dishes.
3. What American holiday is similar to Cinco de Mayo?
Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo as independence day celebrations.
4. Do other countries celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
No other country, including Mexico, celebrates the holiday as extensively as the US.
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