Published: Sun, May 06, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Cinco de Mayo 2018: Holiday history, traditions; is it Mexican Independence Day?

Cinco de Mayo 2018: Holiday history, traditions; is it Mexican Independence Day?

While often mistaken in the be Mexico's Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates Mexico's victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

The Cinco de Mayo festival is open from 10 8 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday at Civic Center Park. Though far outnumbered, Mexicans led by General Ignacio Zaragoza fortified the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles and forced the French to retreat after losing close to 500 soldiers, according to

"The reason it became more popular (in the US during that time) was in part because of the Good Neighbor policy", Jose Alamillo, a professor of ethnic studies at Washington State University in Pullman, told National Geographic, referring to the USA government's effort to reach out to neighboring countries.

If you're one of those Ohioans who Googled cervaza (beer) as you prepared for today's celebration of Cinco de Mayo, you're apparently not alone.

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In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico.

"Unfortunately, the celebrations have become less about the appreciation of Mexican heritage, and instead has become more about drinking and partying especially by non-Mexican individuals", the message continued.

In many cities in the United States, there are parades and festivities featuring mariachi music, dancing and Mexican food. In the years since then, the holiday has morphed into more of a celebration of the food and drinks of Mexican rather than paying homage to a battle.

The statement echoed Trump's comments a year ago, when he said that the USA honored "the Mexican-Americans whose fighting spirit and patriotism have been influential in shaping the character of our great Nation".

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