Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Filed under: Holidays

The Maru Montero Dance Company perform in Washington, D.C. during the 18th Annual National Cinco de Mayo Festival in Washington. Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP

Cinco de Mayo is a regional Mexican holiday that celebrates the defeat of invading French forces, an event that has become symbolic of Mexican unity and patriotism.

When is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of the Puebla, when Mexican forces led by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French expeditionary forces on May 5, 1862. While some mistakenly equate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican independence, the country did not achieve autonomy from foreign forces until nearly 50 years later.

Who celebrates Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by citizens of Mexico, as well as by Mexican-American communities all over the United States. In fact, according to a University of California at Los Angeles website, the holiday is much more popular among Mexican-Americans than it is in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is considered a regional holiday in Mexico, and is not widely celebrated there. In the United States, however, the holiday has taken on a cultural significance among Mexican-Americans.

What traditions are followed?

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with community parades, mariachi music and folklorico dancing. Demonstrations of such traditional Mexican music and dance are held annually at the Plaza del Pueblo de Los Angeles, near Olvera Street.

Where can you learn more about Cinco de Mayo?

Looking for more information about Cinco de Mayo? Get an overview of the holiday on KiddyHouse.com and learn more about the events that led to Cinco de Mayo on About.com and get great Cinco de Mayo recipes from KitchenDaily.

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