May 5, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture. The day has become synonymous with festivals, parades, music, fun and food. Cinco de Mayo celebrations have become increasingly popular in the U.S. This Mexican holiday is often mistaken as Mexican Independence Day by some, but the day actually celebrates the Mexican army’s victory over French troops at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, which lasted from 1861-1867.
On May 5, 1862, more than 6,000 French troops under the leadership of General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack the small village of Puebla de Los Angeles. Mexican President Benito Juarez was able to muster a group of 2,000 to fight the battle against the larger number of French troops. The battle raged for almost a full day, coming to an end when the French had lost almost 500 of their troops.. The Latrille de Lrencez and his soldiers retreated and this signified a symbolic victory for Mexico. The war lasted six years. Eventually, intervention from the U.S. helped force France to withdraw from Mexico and end the war.
Surprisingly, Cinco de Mayo is not as heavily celebrated in Mexico as it is in the U.S. In Mexico, it is primarily celebrated in the town of Puebla, but is not a federal holiday. In the U.S., particularly in the southwestern states like here in Arizona, there are multiple celebrations, festivals, concerts and fun events planned.