A Mexican-American Tradition
Throughout the United States, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by Latin and Non-Latin Americans alike, not only in reverence to our neighbor nation but also in celebration of Mexican culture and food, especially grilled food.
What many may not be aware of is the celebration marks the date when the Mexican Army defeated, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza, the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory invigorated Mexico’s military and brought hope to many Mexicans. Unfortunately, France was able to get the upper hand and occupy the nation for several more years.
That being said, Cinco de Mayo isn’t widely celebrated in Mexico, aside from the Mexican town of Puebla where the battle occurred. But it is a date celebrated by many Mexican-Americans in the U.S..
It was noted in a news article published by UCLA that "the holiday, which has been celebrated in California continuously since 1863, is virtually ignored in Mexico." Time magazine claimed that the holiday began to become popular in the 1940s with the rising Chicano Movement. By the 1950s and 60s, the holiday spread throughout the rest of the country from California, growing in popularity and evolving into a celebration of the culture and history of Mexico among the many large Mexican-American communities throughout the U.S..
Many through are skeptical of the celebration, calling it a fake holiday used to promote beer sales and restaurants. Still, it can be seen as movement in the U.S. where Americans can celebrate an important community in the United States that has made many contributions to our nation. Though music, food, and art, Mexican-Americans have added a rich vein of culture to the heritage of the U.S.. Our native born Mexican workers have industriously contributed to our workforce as laborers, trades-persons, and professionals. So Happy Cinco de Mayo and Vivió Los Americano-Mexicanos!