Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage and is particularly important in cities with a significant Mexican-American community such as Lynwood. Activists raised our awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, and it has since become part of mainstream culture. Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, music, folk dancing and traditional foods. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston where there are large Mexican-American communities.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).
Many people outside of Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.
Although a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage in this country.