Guest Author - April Alisa Marquette
Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the 5th of May. It happens to be a holiday that is primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla and in the U.S. to commemorate the Mexican army's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Seen as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, Cinco de Mayo is observed nationwide in the U.S. by many of its beautifully ethnic people along with others. However, contrary to what some believe, this holiday is not Mexico's most important patriotic day like the United States' Independence Day.
To give a little background on the holiday, I'll share something. The French and Mexico were at odds for a number of reasons. In 1861, after several wars which left Mexico bankrupt, its then-president Benito Juarez suspended all foreign debt. Following this moratorium, he stated, payments were to resume after two years. This was done to allow Mexico to amass the funds needed to satisfy her various creditors. Not pleased with this solution however, France, under the rule of Napoleon, and other nations, sent naval forces to demand payment from Mexico. Thus a French fleet stormed Veracruz and caused Mexico's President Juarez and his government to retreat.
Ah, but get this: while storming Mexico, the larger French army didn't count on receiving a noteworthy amount of resistance. Therefore, they must have been surprised when met with it at Mexican forts not as heavily fortified, near Puebla. What is now known as the 'Battle of Puebla' was won by those fighting on their home turf. Understand my friends, this wasn't necessarily a major strategic victory for Mexico, yet it did much to boost the morale of the Mexican people and their army.
This victory was seen as a glorious shining moment. Therefore, celebrated enthusiastically by descendants of Mexico living in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has become the symbolization of unity and pride. Celebrations encompass parades, mariachi bands, dancing, spirits, and mouthwatering culinary delights. Nowadays, look for colorful celebrations to include guacamole, salsa, and enchiladas, among other tasty items.
Many revelers even decorate their homes, with flowers and the colors green, red, and white -- those of the Mexican flag. You don't have to be Mexican to enjoy this growing ethnic celebration, or the tasty dishes often served at fiestas. If you love Mexican chorizo -- spicy sausage, if you enjoy savory shredded chicken, Roma tomatoes, and chipotle chile, then you should enjoy Tinga poblana de pollo. Or maybe you'd enjoy corn tortillas, Mexican beer, or sweet rich flan, a dessert. Whatever you fancy, do take some time to enjoy this ethnic celebration as well as a muy bueno feast!