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Cinco de Mayo is not a Mexican festival. It is an American one

August 15, 2023 School of Languages and Cultures

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the military victory of the Mexican army against invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It was an almost unbelievable victory for the Mexican forces, underdogs who defeated one of the most powerful armies in the world.

Yet, Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico outside of Puebla. Unlike Mexico’s Independence Day, Sept. 16, it is not even a federal holiday.

In the United States, by contrast, more than 500 cities have annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations, with the largest in Los Angeles drawing as many as 500,000 revelers.

So, is it strange that Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated in the United States than in Mexico?
No — because Cinco de Mayo is a celebration created by and for Latino communities in the United States. And the celebration of Cinco de Mayo is more about U.S. Latino history and culture than Mexican history.


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