Today marks the 150th anniversary of Cinco De Mayo.(5th of May in gringo speak) No it’s not Mexican Independence day. That’s September 16. Two days before the Air Force Birthday and three days before Talk Like a Pirate day.But I digress. In 1861 France seeing a newly liberated Mexico, deep in debt, decided to call in their loans. This was a way to establish a colonial French empire in the Americas. France was sympathetic to the Confederate cause during the American civil war. And they saw a foothold in Mexico as a way to supply the Confederate States. 6,000 French troops set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. Benito Juarez rounded up 2,000 to defend the town. Led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, French forces withdrew. I guess this could be seen as a Mexican Alamo. Later after the Civil War ended America was able to provide more assistance to expel France from the new world. Since that battle, no country in the Americas has been invaded by a European military force.. Cinco De Mayo is primarily observed in the township of Puebla de Los Angeles.
Most of Mexico treats the fifth of May as any other day. It’s not a federal holiday. Banks and stores are open. In America Mexicans and Latinos living in California during the American Civil War are credited with being the first to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States. On June 7, 2005 Congress issued a concurrent resolution calling upon the people of the United States to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities. Today revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods. So grab your favorite Mexican beer and Tex-Mex dishes, no not that, and have some fun today.