It’s Not Cinco de Drinko: The Real History of Cinco de Mayo

It’s Not Cinco de Drinko: The Real History of Cinco de Mayo

More people drink on Cinco de Mayo than on Super Bowl Sunday or St. Patrick's Day. Americans love Cinco de Mayo but few of them know the true meaning behind the holiday. The holiday has become a drinking holiday for Americans and lost its meaning. Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo by consuming excess amounts of tequila and tacos but rarely stop to question how the holiday originated in Mexico. Next year, impress your friends with your historical knowledge about the origins of the day. Keep reading for more information about the history of Cinco de Mayo and how it came to be known as Cinco de Drinko in the United States.

The History of Cinco de Mayo

Most people at least know that Cinco de Mayo translates to "the fifth of May." The holiday was originally created to celebrate the 1862 victory of Mexico's army over France. This happened during the Franco-Mexican War, specifically during the Battle of Puebla. In the year 1861, Benito Juárez, who was a lawyer and a member of Mexico's Zapotec tribe was elected to be president of Mexico. Mexico was in debt due to years of internal struggles and defaulted on debts to European governments. France, Britain, and Spain sent forces to Mexico in order to collect repayment. Mexico was able to negotiate with Britain and Spain, so they withdrew their forces. France, which was ruled by Napoleon III at the time, used the opportunity to try to take over Mexico.

The Battle of Puebla

The Battle of Puebla occurred when French forces launched an attack on Puebla de Los Angeles, a small Mexican city. Unexpectedly, Mexican forces won the battle by forcing the French to retreat. Although this battle did not end the war, it was considered a symbolic victory and inspired the resistance movement. A few years later, in 1867, after the end of its own civil war, American was in a position to help Mexico. The United States provided military support to Mexico and used political pressure to force France to withdraw from Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo in America

Cinco de Mayo has become a small holiday in Mexico itself. It is mostly Americans who celebrate the day. In most cases, the holiday serves as a way to commemorate Mexican history, culture, and heritage. This is especially true in areas of the United States with large populations of Mexican-Americans. However, people all around the country celebrate by going to Mexican restaurants to drink and party. American cities including Houston, Chicago, and Los Angeles host large festivals to celebrate the day. Many mistake the day for a celebration of Mexican independence, when in reality, Mexico declared independence more than 50 years prior to the Battle of Puebla. Mexican independence day is actually celebrated on September 16th.

Learn More About Our World

Many of the holidays we celebrate have much deeper roots than we even realize. For example, the history of Cinco de Mayo is not known by many who celebrate the holiday. Our world is full of cultural happenings that are inspired by events that happened long ago. To learn more about the mysterious world we live in, check out our travel blog.

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