5 de Mayo – Fun and Facts

I’ll bet you $5 bucks 5 De Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day!”
Hands down 5 de Mayo is my favorite holiday to celebrate in the USA! Why? Well, because it is a fun excuse to run around in a sombrero, drink delicious mexican imported beers and eat yummy guacamole and pico de gallo!

Once the date gets closer to the 5th of May or “5 de Mayo,” across the USA you will begin to hear about the “5 de Mayo” specials, the “5 de Mayo” celebrations and house parties beginning to form for the special holiday in the weeks ahead. All the grocery stores you walk into have the tortilla chips, salsa dips, mexican imported beer and margarita mix all ready on the store’s biggest displays. They arrange all the fun food items, beverage items and paraphernalia in a way that you could almost buy it as packaged deal. Any Mexican Restaurant you pass are generally decorated over the top, full of specials and “5 de Mayo” happy hours and loud music to attract any “5 de Mayo” fan.

The most shocking thing that I have found that some Americans confuse the “5 de Mayo” holiday for “Mexican Independence Day” or even worse “Mexican New Year.” I am lucky to have dual citizenship. This means I am both American and Mexican. So I try to keep up with history on both sides of the border. I love to make joking bets with friends while they sip on their Coronas and truly believe that we are celebrating “Mexican Independence Day.”

The 5th of May is not nearly celebrated in Mexico as in the USA. 5 de Mayo marks a day in the year 1862, when the Mexican Army won a battle in Puebla, Mexico against the French Army. General Ignacio de Zaragoza fortified the Cerro de Guadalupe against the French invaders, and on May 5th 1862, his 2000 men defeated a frontal attack by 6000, many handicapped by diarrhea. This rare Mexican military is the excuse for annual celebrations and hundreds of streets named 5 de Mayo. Few seem to remember that the following year the reinforced French took Puebla and occupied the city until 1867.  Touché! Nowadays on 5th of May, all Mexican men that registered for military service have to swear their loyalty to the national flag and the institutions that they represent. This year it will be 150 years since the Battle of Puebla and the city Puebla will host a unique festival with a re-enactment of the battle.

And for those of you who wonder: Mexican Independence Day is actually on September 16th.

5 de Mayo has become a holiday where Americans celebrate Mexican culture and just have fun. You can almost compare it to St. Patricks Day in the USA, which we claim we are celebrating the Irish. Like most holidays in the USA, it is a great excuse to gather with friends and family and have fun.

Happy 5 de Mayo !!!!

– Dancing Chef Melissa

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