SAN ANGELO – May 5th is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo across the southwestern U.S. and elsewhere but not as much in Mexico. Here's why.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862 where Mexico defeated the French. Those less familiar with the timeline of this country’s history are quick to assume that this is a celebration of Mexican Independence. Fifty-two years earlier, in 1810, Mexico earned its independence from Spain. Mexican Independence Day or Fiestas Patrias is celebrated on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo is acknowledged and celebrated in Mexico, but it is not a federal holiday. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo celebrations began the following year in 1863, in the southern border states like California. Fifteen years before the Battle of Puebla, California and other southwestern states were formerly Mexico. Mexican citizens were made U.S. citizens overnight by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.
Commercialization of this Mexican holiday emphasizes the consumption of tequila, margaritas, Tex-Mex and Mexican food.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!