It began as a triumphant celebration of freedom in Mexico that has evolved over the years to become a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage in the U.S. It has truly become a multicultural event. Cinco De Mayo commemorates the defeat of the French soldiers in the historic Battle Of Puebla. It celebrates the pride of the Mexican people, bringing a rich Latin culture to the celebrations in America and other parts of the world.

A struggle for freedom

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, rooted in the French occupation of Mexico and the struggle of ordinary men and women for freedom.

Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for Fifth of May, the day of the celebration and a national holiday in Mexico. The victory is celebrated today in Mexico on a smaller scale than in the United States and is commemorated with much pomp and splendor, and with great pride at the accomplishment of the Mexican people

The battle of Puebla

The Mexican army defeated occupying French forces on May 5th 1862, in the Battle of Puebla, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza. It was a truly David and Goliath experience as the vastly outnumbered Mexican army achieved victory over the more superior French army of Napoleon III. The courageous soldiers, who fought in the battle of Pueblo, did much to boost the pride of the Mexican people.

French occupation came to an end in 1867.

In the original battlefield of Puebla in Mexico, you will now find a statue of General Zaragoza on horseback. There are also several remnants of the original forts, one of which has been converted into a war museum. On display in this museum are hundreds of toy soldiers arranged to re-enact the battle on that fateful day.

Cinco de Mayo transforms the city of Pueblo celebrating the event with colourful decorations, parades, dance, music and food.

The biggest Cinco de Mayo celebrations

Los Angeles hosts several Cinco de Mayo parties and events. Included in the festivities are benefits for local charities, art workshops, and a variety of music including Mexican, jazz and other genres.

One of the largest Cinco De Mayo celebrations in the world is the one held in Los Angeles, the Festival de Fiesta Broadway. Here you can enjoy Mariachi bands, magnificent parades, Latin music and dancing for all ages. Candy filled piatas, Mexican arts and crafts, as well as music and dance are common features of the festivities. California also hosts several Cinco de Mayo parties as does pretty much any major city in the United States. The celebration of culture and heritage can last for several days.

In Denver Colorado, the celebration of Mexican culture and heritage is a two day event that attracts nearly half a million people who participate, or come for the cultural events, parades, music and food.

Southern California has a rich Mexican heritage and it shows in the massive Cinco de Mayo celebrations in various locations.

The Mercado

One highlight of the celebration is the Mercado. Here you will experience a wide variety of traditional Mexican foods that include beans and rice, tacos, tostados, and empanadas. However, there will be variations from one celebration to the next. In the United States Cinco de Mayo is definitely a blend of two cultures, the American and the Mexican.