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What is Cinco de Mayo?

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Cinco de Mayo

Folklorico dancer at Cinco de Mayo

Photo © 2000 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
Question: What is Cinco de Mayo?
Los Angeles goes crazy with street fairs and festivals and all the bars discount Mexican beers and Margaritas to celebrate this annual event, but what exactly is Cinco de Mayo?
Answer: Cinco de Mayo, literally Fifth of May, is a holiday originating in Puebla, Mexico to commemorate the last foreign battle on North American soil. The Mexican army defeated the much larger and better-equipped French army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

While Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Pueblo and some other parts of Mexico, it is not an official national holiday in Mexico. However it has gained popularity around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage. It is often confused outside of Mexico with Mexican Independence Day, the biggest Mexican holiday, which is September 16 or Dieciseis de Septiembre.

There are Cinco de Mayo festivals in Mexican-American communities across the United States, but the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world is Fiesta Broadway in Los Angeles, a mile-long street fair held annually the last Sunday in April since 1989. Half a million people regularly come out for the one-day event.

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