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

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.

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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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Coffee Culture In Italy
Coffee Culture In Italy
  • Cappuccino is only made in the morning.
  • Highly concentrated espresso is served in small, ceramic cups, and almost taken as a shot of alcohol.
  • Sometimes, a slice of lemo...
Coffee Culture In Mexico

In Mexico, coffee is served throughout the day.

Called “café de olla” in Spanish, this traditional drink is brewed in individual earthenware pots filled with cinnamon sticks. This aromatic coffee is actually quite addicting.

Coffee Culture In Saudi Arabia

Coffee comes with serious etiquette, including serving the oldest in the group first.

Saudi coffee (called “kahwa”) is dark, horrendously bitter, and flavored with cardamom. The coffee is usually served with sweet dates to cut the flavor.

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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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1800: Jefferson and Adams
1800: Jefferson and Adams

The outcome was so bizarre, the United States had to amend the Constitution.

  • The election of 1800 saw Thomas Jefferson tie with his Democratic-Republican "running mate" Aaron Burr. Both...
1824: 'Corrupt bargain'
  • Andrew Jackson won the popular vote by less than 39,000 ballots and took 99 Electoral College votes. John Quincy Adams secured 84, William Crawford won 41, and Henry Clay had 37.
  • Clay, with the least votes, got the boot, and his supporters shifted their support to Adams, who would go on to win the majority of the House vote.

After his inauguration, Adams selected Clay as his secretary of state. Jackson accused Adams and Clay of a "corrupt bargain."

1860: Nation divided

The 1860 election was notable because it ripped the long-dominant Party (and nation) in half.

  • The Democrats were unable at their 1860 convention to establish an official party line on slavery.
  • At a second convention that year, the Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas, but many Southerners in the party selected Breckinridge as their man. Both would claim to be the official Democratic candidate.
  • Lincoln snared 40% of the popular vote but took most of the North in the Electoral College.
  • Douglas was second in the popular vote but took only Missouri.
  • Breckenridge took most of the South.
  • Bell's middle of the road policies earned him the middle of the road.

In 1861, delegates from South Carolina, and six of the Southern states formed the Confederate States of America and selected Jefferson Davis as their president.

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Voting in the 1700s

For decades, only white property holders would have the right to vote in the United States. Moreover, some states even made sure that only Christian men had this vote.

Voting in the 1800s

Even though during the Reconstruction period, after the Civil War, individuals were supposed to be allowed to vote no matter their race, in the following decades many Southern states, by means of poll taxes or literacy tests, would still limit the right to vote of the African American men.

1920 and women's voting right

In 1920 women won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th amendment to the American Constitution.

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Egyptian Senet
Egyptian Senet

One of the earliest known board games, Senet was played in 3100 BC and loved by Queen Nefertari and the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Played using a longboard having three rows of ten squar...

The Royal Game Of Ur
  • Also known as Twenty Squares, this 4500-year-old game, first unearthed in ancient Mesopotamia, is impressive in its complex rules and intricate design.
  • The beautiful game board uses twenty squares and has a narrow bridge in the middle part, was played in Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and many other ancient civilizations.
  • To finish the game as winners, players had to race their opponent to the opposite end of the board, moving pieces according to knucklebone dice rolls.
The Game of Mehen
  • Named after the Egyptian serpentine deity, Mehen is also known as the Egyptian Snake Game and was played between 3100 to 2300 BC.
  • Six players could simultaneously play this spiral board, each having a piece crafted in the shape of a lion or a sphere.
  • The rules of this game are not very clear because it lost its popularity after the decline of Egypt’s Old Kingdom and is hardly found in archaeological records.

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The first picnic

The first picnic appeared in Les Charmans effects des barricades (1649), a burlesque satire on the perceived hypocrisy of the Fronde.

The main character, ‘Pique-Nique,’ is a glutt...

The indoor picnic

During the 18th century, picnics became a pastime of the aristocracy and were a purely indoor affair. Attendees were still required to contribute by either bringing a dish, a drink or pay a share of the cost.

Picnics were associated with conversation and wit and seen as intellectual refinement. At a larger gathering, there was also music or dance - similar to a ball or party.

A picnic revolution

After the French Revolution, most aristocratic picnickers fled abroad to Britain and introduced the picnic to England. This led to a less refined and more raucous picnic, thanks to a 'Pic Nic Society,' founded by wealthy young Francophiles. Every member was required to bring a dish and six bottles of wine. Dinner was followed by singing, dancing, and gambling.

Picnics were also taken up by the emergent middle classes and moved outdoors. The result that picnicking ceased to be associated with music and dancing and became a simple meal. It became calmer and more innocent.

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The Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is a popular sporting event that takes place each year to determine the championship team of the National Football League (NFL).

Super Bowl is broadcast ...

History of the Super Bowl

The FNL officially formed in 1920. In 1960, a group of businessmen wanted to own football franchises but were denied by the NFL. They decided to launch an alternative league, known as the AFL (American football League).

The NFL and AFL competed for fans, players, and support. In 1966, the leagues were merged, and the first Super Bowl took place.

The First Four Super Bowls
  1. Super Bowl I took place on January 15, 1967, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and the NFL's Green Bay Packers won against the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs. It was the only Super Bowl that didn't sell out. The game aired drew in an audience of more than 61,000 fans.
  2. The next year, the Packers won again, and many began to question whether the AFL teams could hold their own in the NFL.
  3. The year after, the AFL's New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
  4. Super Bowl IV was the last game played between the two leagues.

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Ancient stories that shaped history
Ancient stories that shaped history

Alexander the Great learned to read and write by studying Homer's Iliad. Thanks to his teacher, the philosopher Aristotle, he had done so with unusual intensity. When Alexander embarked on his ...

The importance of poetry

Chinese literature is based on the Book of Songs, a collection of simple poems that have accrued much interpretation and commentary.

The Book of Songs enshrined poetry as the most important form of literature across East Asia.

Stories shape language

As more and more parts of the world became literate, new technologies such as paper and print increased the reach and influence of written stories. More readers meant new stories started to appear.

When Dante Alighieri wrote his Comedy in the spoken dialect of Tuscany, it helped to turn the dialect into a legitimate language we now call Italian.

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