Today is Cinco de Mayo, or the 5th of May.
Even though most of us know it as a day to get completely trashed, it is actually a day to commemorate the Mexican victory against the French army at the Battle of Puebla. The holiday is largely celebrated in the United States and vague parts of Mexico. Also contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That day is September 16.
Following several wars in the mid 1860s, Mexico declared that it would not pay its foreign debts until the country could get back on its feet. Britain and Spain were able to negotiate and were satisfied, but France got pissed and sent an 8000 man army to occupy Mexico. The French army at that time was undefeated and considered the best trained army in the world.
They won the first few battles, but they encountered strong resistance near Puebla. Four-thousand ill-equipped, poor Mexican soldiers whooped the French. The French retreated and returned with 30,000 troops. They occupied Mexico for three years until the Civil War in the United States was over. The Americans sent troops to help drive the French out. Since then, no European force has invaded any country in the Americas.
What does that have to do with drinking? Absolutely nothing, but in 2005 a proclamation was issued in the United States calling on the people to mark the event with appropriate events and celebrations. Many celebrations include baile folklorico and mariachi demonstrations, as well as events to educate people on Mexican culture and heritage. Strangely, there are more Cinco de Mayo events in the United States than there are in Mexico. Most Mexicans living in Mexico don’t particularly celebrate the day.
There are other countries that have Cinco de Mayo events, including an air guitar contest in the Cayman Islands and a skydiving event in Vancouver.
You didn’t know before and now you do.