Cinco de Mayo

Category: History
Cinco de Mayo around the world in 2024

About Cinco de Mayo

How long until Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo .
Dates of Cinco de Mayo
2025 InternationalMay 5
International Mon, May 5Observances Holiday
2024 InternationalMay 5
International Sun, May 5Observances Holiday
2023 InternationalMay 5
International Fri, May 5Observances Holiday
2022 InternationalMay 5
International Thu, May 5Observances Holiday
2021 InternationalMay 5
International Wed, May 5Observances Holiday
Cinco de Mayo is one of two days, which mark Mexico's independence from foreign rulers

Cinco de Mayo is considered a day of great importance in Mexico as it marks the day in 1862 when President Benito Juarez sent troops to face an invading French army that was marching toward Mexico City.

This annual celebration commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th 1862.

The battle took place as the French attempted to carve out a new empire in Mexican territory, which helped to slow down the invading force’s advance to Mexico City.

The incident saw the French lose more than 500 soldiers, with the Mexican force losing less than 100 men. The battle took place under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza and saw a smaller Mexican force succeed against a larger French force. General Zaragoza died months after the battle due to illness.

A year after the battle, a larger French force defeated the Mexican army at the Second Battle of Puebla, and Mexico City soon fell to the invaders.

An American Holiday?

In addition to its importance in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is significant to many Americans.

In fact, the United States celebrates Cinco de Mayo on a much larger scale than Mexico, with parades, battle re-enactments, mariachi music, traditional foods, piñatas and fireworks mark the day. Though for many years Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the US inaccurately promoted Cinco de Mayo as Mexican Independence Day.

The holiday of another's country was brought to the US thanks to a little diplomacy FDR made. President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed a Good Neighbor Policy in 1933 in order to improve relations with Latin American countries. This policy allowed Cinco de Mayo to become a mainstream American holiday.

Though FDR made the holiday popular in the 1930s, it didn't officially become a US holiday until 2005 when Congress passed it.

Thanks to a large number of Mexican immigrants, California jumped on the holiday bandwagon long before the policy was passed in 1933. They celebrated as early as 1863.

The city of Los Angeles hosts the largest celebration of the holiday, which didn't even originate in the States. The celebration spreads from Olvera Street to Broadway. It's even bigger than the celebration in the city of Puebla where the holiday comes from. Houston and Chicago are not far behind either.

Mole Poblano

Tacos and margaritas are great, but they are not the official dish of the holiday. It is actually mole poblano! For those who don't know this authentic Mexican dish, it is a dark brown sauce made with Mexican chocolate and a ton of spices. The dish's origins come from the Mexican city of Puebla where the victory occurred.

Cinco de Mayo

Did you know?

  • In 2013, Americans spent more than $600 million on beer for Cinco de Mayo, according to Nielsen.
  • About 36.6 million people of Mexican origin lived in the U.S. in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center. This includes immigrants from Mexico and people who can trace their heritage back to Mexico.
  • In 2017, the Corona beer company lit up New York City’s famous Times Square Ball to resemble a lime wedge and hosted a ‘Lime Drop’ to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
  • Some cities around the country, including Denver, Colo. and Chandler, Ariz., hold an annual Chihuahua Race in honor of Cinco de Mayo.
  • In 2005, Congress declared Cinco de Mayo an official U.S. holiday.
  • Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in a few other places around the world, including Brisbane, Australia, Malta and the Cayman Islands.
  • Americans drink an average of 3.5 alcoholic beverages each on Cinco de Mayo, according to a survey from
  • Americans drink more tequila than any other country, according to the drinks market analysis firm IWSR.
  • Cinco de Mayo became a ‘drinking’ holiday in the U.S. in the 1980s, when beer companies targeted the Spanish-speaking population in marketing campaigns, according to Time.
  • There has been a backlash against Cinco de Mayo celebrations among some Latino communities in the U.S., who object to the holiday’s commercialism and portrayal of Mexican stereotypes, according to the New York Times.
  • In the past, Americans have consumed more than 80 million pounds of avocados on Cinco De Mayo.
  • There are about 54,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S.
  • Americans spend about $2.9 billion on margaritas every year.
  • Los Angeles’s annual Cinco de Mayo celebration is bigger than the one that takes place in Puebla, Mexico, where the holiday originated.
  • Forget the tacos: one of the most popular traditional dishes in Mexico for Cinco de Mayo is mole poblano, a rich sauce made from chocolate and chilis.
  • The colors traditionally associated with Cinco de Mayo are red, white and green, reflecting the colors of the Mexican flag.
  • A lot of “Mexican” foods we eat in the U.S. aren’t actually an authentic part of Mexican cuisine. Dishes like hard-shell tacos, nachos, and burritos, are considered “Tex-Mex” creations.
  • President Roosevelt helped popularize Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the U.S. with his 1933 Good Neighbor Policy, which he enacted to improve relations with Central and South American countries.
  • On Cinco de Mayo, a Hard Rock Cafe in the Cayman Islands hosts an annual air guitar competition.
  • In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is known as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla).
  • The Battle of Puebla is re-enacted every year in Mexico City.
  • The city of Longmont, Colo., celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a Chihuahua beauty contest, in which they crown a King and Queen Chihuahua.
  • Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken called Mexico’s Independence Day, but that falls on Sept. 16.
Find out more

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