Top 3 Questions about Cinco de Mayo
As we get ready to celebrate a Mexican holiday beloved all across the United States, we’d like to answer the top three questions we get asked about this popular day!
1. Isn’t it Mexico’s Independence Day?
¡No way, José! Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration of the Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla against the French. Maybe at this point you are saying, “Huh? What? Why on earth are we celebrating a small victory in a larger war?” It’s the classic story of an underdog- the French were on their way to Mexico City and had to pass through the town of Puebla. Although certainly outnumbered and ill-prepared against the French military of Napoleon III, the Mexicans blocked the French from overtaking the city- against all odds!
2. So why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States?
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the town of Puebla with war re-enactments and a military parade. Beyond that, however, it is not even remotely as popular a holiday in Mexico as it is in the United States! The celebrations began in Southern California as a way to build community with the Mexican people living there. Mexican-American youth began celebrating it as a way to honor their heritage, and eventually as the celebrations got larger and acquired corporate sponsors, it quickly moved into the mainstream. In fact, the world’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration is in Los Angeles, California! Besides- who doesn’t love an excuse to eat Mexican food?
3. You said “Mexican food” and now I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?
Since Cinco de Mayo is such a popular day to go out to eat, we are sure you’ll find yourself at your favorite local Mexican restaurant (we know you have one). Anything you order will be a great choice- Mexico is a huge country with a varied cuisine, and it’s hard to go wrong! If you are curious about food that is typical of Puebla, we would recommend you try chiles en nogada. It’s a poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef and local spices and herbs, deep-fried, and covered in a creamy walnut sauce. In Mexico it is only available in the summer, so you might have a hard time finding that on the menu. Alternatively, another popular dish is mole poblano, a sauce made from chiles, chocolate and spices which is delicious over chicken.
Now don’t forget to enjoy a margarita to wash down your delicious meal! Or better yet, go to Mexico and experience the real thing!
¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
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