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The real history of Cinco de Mayo, and how it's celebrated around the world

The All-Day Battle

... after which France surrendered, losing about 500 troops, became a day of Mexican pride.

Out of the 2000 soldiers who fought in the city of Puebla, Mexico lost about 100.

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The real history of Cinco de Mayo, and how it's celebrated around the world

The real history of Cinco de Mayo, and how it's celebrated around the world

https://www.businessinsider.in/home/the-real-history-of-cinco-de-mayo-and-how-its-celebrated-around-the-world/articleshow/64042174.cms

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Key Ideas

Cinco de Mayo

... the Mexican holiday celebrated on May 5, is not the Mexican Independence Day, as most people tend to believe. Their actual independence day is celebrated on 16th September.

Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for ‘Fifth of May’, and is a representation of Unity and Resistance for Mexico, when on 5th May 1862, an ill-equipped Mexican Army defeated France, one of the strongest armies of the time.

The All-Day Battle

... after which France surrendered, losing about 500 troops, became a day of Mexican pride.

Out of the 2000 soldiers who fought in the city of Puebla, Mexico lost about 100.

An All American holiday

Even though the Cinco de Mayo holiday has its origins in Mexican heritage and culture, the celebrations are mostly in America, and in the city of Puebla, where the battle was fought. In the 1960s, the food and drink establishments marketed the day as a day to celebrate, and by the 80s, turned it into a major holiday, bigger even than Super Bowl Sunday or St. Patrick's Day.

Big Time Celebrations

In the United States, the celebrations for Cinco de Mayo are huge, with community organizations, bars and towns feasting in their own way.

Even the White House took part with some special ceremonies during the George W Bush days. Apart from the US, Australia, Cayman Islands, Canada, and Malta host Fifth of May parties.

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Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo doesn’t mark Mexican Independence, as many believe.

Instead, it’s meant to celebrate the Battle of Puebla, which was fought between the Mexican and French armies in 1862.

Beating back an empire
  • After Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, other nations did not want to recognize its autonomy.
  • After a civil war in the late 1850s, Benito Juárez became Mexico's first indigenous president in 1861.
  • Juárez canceled repayments on foreign loans to protect Mexico's struggling economy.
  • It angered Britain, Spain, and France, and they jointly sent a force to Mexico but withdrew when it became evident that Napoleon III had plans to overthrow the new Mexican government.
  • On May 5, 1862, the Battle of Puebla took place. Although the Mexican Army was outnumbered two to one, they repelled attacks by the French army on the city of Puebla.
  • Four days later, on May 9, 1862, Juárez declared Cinco de Mayo a national holiday.
  • Even though the French eventually defeated the Mexican Army, the battle of Puebla proved that Mexico was a formidable opponent worthy of international respect.
An inadvertent impact

By defeating the French at the Battle of Puebla, Mexicans stopped the French army from moving northward toward the U.S. border, where they would likely have helped the Confederacy.

Mexico's victory likely changed the course of American history. The state of California viewed the victory as a defense of freedom.

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Labor Day

Labor Day is a public holiday observed in the United States on the first Monday in September.

Labor Day celebrates the contribution of the American system of organized labor and workers to t...

Inventing Labor Day

Labor Day was first observed in 1882, but there is still disagreement who should take credit for its invention.

Some think it is Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Others believe it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist who later was elected secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in line with the plans of the Central Labor Union. 

The Central Labor Union then urged other unions and trade organizations to hold a similar workingmens' holiday on the same date. By 1885, industrial centers nationwide observed Labor Day.

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Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, in the area that is now Ireland.  On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the gho...

All Saints' Day
  • On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established. Pope Gregory III later expanded the festival and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1.
  • The influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church made November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was probably done to replace the Celtic festival.
  • All Souls’ Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas, and eventually, Halloween.
Halloween Comes to America

The celebration of Halloween was limited in colonial New England, but as the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups and the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with Irish immigrants, fleeing the Irish Potato Famine. This helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally.

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