The Battle of Puebla took place on 5 May 1862 near the city of Puebla during the French intervention in Mexico. The battle ended in a victory for the Mexican Army over the occupying French forces. The French eventually overran the Mexicans in subsequent battles, but the Mexican victory at Puebla against a much better equipped and larger French army provided a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and also helped slow the French army's advance towards Mexico City.
What the history books don't tell us is that a year later the French returned and completely annihilated the Mexican Army, beginning a five year occupation.
On 9 May 1862, President Juárez declared that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday, regarded as "Battle of Puebla Day" or "Battle of Cinco de Mayo". Although today it is recognised in some countries as a day of Mexican heritage celebration, it is not a federal holiday in Mexico.
A common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico. Mexico celebrates Independence Day on the 16th of September, commemorating the beginning of the war of Independence (September 16, 1810, Grito de Dolores). Mexico also observes the culmination of the war of Independence, which lasted 11 years, on the 27th of September.
Hosting reenactments is akin to those in the South who reenact the Civil War. Yes, you may have won a battle here or there but YOU LOST THE WAR! Let's celebrate that time I got my ass kicked but got in one good punch.
True, if you don't live in Puebla or any large touristy city in Mexico, chances are you do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
It originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride while getting totally shitfaced on frozen margaritas and going to
stanfurdTaco Bell and using the day as an excuse for blatant displays of racism.
This is a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture much like St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of Irish heritage and culture, meaning it isn't. Both have been co-opted into a national drunkfest where people dress in oversized sombreros or wear shamrock shaped glasses speaking in broken spanglish while trying to protect their Lucky Charms.
But if you chose you celebrate tonight, don't be these assholes:
White people, amirite?