Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

It's fiesta time! In Mexico and in the United States people of Mexican descent get a perfect chance today to celebrate their Mexican origins. 

Cinco de Mayo commemorates victory of the poorly armed Mexican army over the powerful French occupying forces. The decisive battle took place on May 5, 1862 in Puebla under the leadership of general Ignacio Zaragoza SeguĂ­n. The battle is oft regarded as a battle of David against Goliath which helped restore pride and establish sense of national unity. 

Unfortunately, the Mexican victory was short lived.  Only a year later the French were able to defeat the Mexican army and capture Mexico City. As a consequence Emperor Maximilian I was installed as ruler of Mexico in 1864. His reign lasted only three years. As the Mexican forces, with the help from the United States, re-gained control of the Mexican territory and liberated Mexico City, Emperor Maximilian I was captured and executed in June 1867.

In the United States Cinco de Mayo celebrations originated in the Mexican communities of the American West, Southwest, and Northwest. It is believed that Mexicans living in California during the American Civil War were the first to celebrated the victory at Puebla.

Mexican communities all over the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo with parades, music, dances and good food. 

By Dominique Allmon