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"Happy Cinco de Mayo: A Brief History"


WHAT IT IS

Cinco de Mayo marks the anniversary of the 1862 victory by Mexican troops over invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla. The triumph over the better equipped and more numerous French troops was an enormous emotional boost for the Mexican soldiers led by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza.


Historical reenactments and parades are held annually in the central Mexico city of Puebla to commemorate the inspirational victory over the Europeans, with participants dressed in historical French and Mexican army uniforms.


WHAT IT ISN’T

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, Mexico’s most important holiday.

Mexicans celebrate their country’s independence from Spain on the anniversary of the call to arms against the European country issued Sept. 16, 1810, by the Rev. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest in Dolores, Mexico.


Mexico’s president reenacts el Grito de Independencia, or the Cry of Independence, most years on Sept. 15 at about 11 p.m. from the balcony of the country’s National Palace, ringing the bell Hidalgo rang.


The commemoration typically ends with three cries of “¡Viva México!” above a colorful swirl of tens of thousands of people crowded into the Zócalo, or main plaza, in central Mexico City.

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