So please explain what Cinco de Mayo exactly is

I understand it’s May 5, but what the hell is celebrated that day?
It seemed to be the Mexican national holiday to me regarding the contexts in which Cinco de Mayo was mentioned; but I looked it up and found the Mexican national hoilday is in October. So please explain to someone who has never had contact with Hispanics what C.d.M. actually is.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in which the forces of President Benito Juarez defeated (temporarily) an invading French Army.

The main Mexican national holliday is the 15th and 16th of September, which commemorates the beginning of the rebellion against Spain. The October holiday may be Dia de la Raza or Columbus Day.

Cinco de Mayo is more of a second tier holiday, in honor of the battle Colibri mentioned. For reasons unknown to me (Corona Beer Ads?) it has caught on as some sort of Mexican holiday.

Check your search engine on The Straight Dope and you should get my response:

In short, in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has always had the same level of celebration as D-Day Celebrations, i.e., it is a military battle celebration whereas in the US the Chicano community has celebrated the more symbolic side of it.


I meant to say it caught on as a " Mexican holiday" among non Mexicans due to Corona beer ads or some other recent commercial source…not that it was a completely ‘fake’ holiday. It is a genuinely popular holiday, but not the main one by far.

France surrenders!

(Sorry. Been over on Fark too long…)