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So just what is Cinco de Mayo?

So just what is Cinco de Mayo?

The month of May is starting strong. We’ve had a day off to celebrate Labour Day, Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you) is still warm and now here’s another opportunity to celebrate: Cinco de Mayo!

While the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo) is not celebrated in our neck of the woods, most of us have heard of it. But do we know what it’s about? No? Well, allow me to enlighten you.


This day commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire in the Battle of Puebla on 5th May 1862. General Ignacio Zaragoza led the Mexican Army against the much larger French force, and the victory – understandably – became a proud moment for Mexicans.

It is interesting to note that while they celebrate this day in Mexico, mostly in Puebla where the battle took place, Cinco de Mayo has become a much bigger, and more commercial deal in the United States.


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Hector Herrera (@skidder13) által megosztott bejegyzés,

In Mexico

In Puebla they have a big parade where people dress up as French and Mexican soldiers and often re-enact the events of this historic day. Vendors sell patriotic Mexican clothing and accessories, as well as traditional Mexican foods.

Fun fact: Since 2012, the Mole Festival accompanies Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are many types of mole sauces, Puebla’s is called mole poblano, and it apparently has chocolate in it so now I really want to try it. The festival usually includes culinary discussions, exhibitions and tastings for a week leading up to the holiday.


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In the US

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo celebrations were started by Mexican Americans to honour their heritage. The Chicano Movement made Cinco de Mayo more popular in the 1960s, as it provided the community with an opportunity to show pride in their culture. Today, large celebrations take place all over the US, and people of all ethnicities join the festivities.

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Fun fact: On average, more beer is sold on this day than during the Superbowl!

If you’re interested in Mexican culture, or would just like an excuse to eat, drink and get out of the mundane, find yourself a Cinco de Mayo activity to spice up the 5th of May this year, in a safe and quarantined fashion of course.

Here are some ideas:

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

By Andi Tamás

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