Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
By Damien Martin

No, it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day (that would be September 16). Yes, it’s way more popular in the U.S. than it is in Mexico; you can thank the Chicano Movement of the mid-20th century for that.

    While now it’s mostly an excuse for Americans to party, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory didn’t even preserve Mexican independence for long, as France soon after took Mexico City and established the Second Mexican Empire as a client state.

    The battle’s significance did resonate across the world, though, because an outnumbered Mexican force defeated a French army that was on a half-century winning streak. Guerrilas continued to fight and, aided by the U.S. after the American Civil War ended, managed to regain independence in 1867.

    Though it’s really only a regional holiday in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican heritage around the world. Here’s where you’ll find some of the best parties today:

San Antonio

Historic Market Square welcomes about 50,000 visitors for live music, heritage performances, authentic food and an arts and crafts fair.

Los Angeles

Festivities go on all over the Los Angeles area, including luchador wrestling, Hecho en LA Taco Madness and the multiblock street fair of Fiesta Broadway downtown.


This year marks the fifth annual official Cinco de Mayo festival in the Japanese capital. Originally held in Yoyogi Park but at a new location in Odaiba, the gathering showcases food, drink, and music from all across the Americas.


Yes, the familiar street tacos and Mexican beers are available, but Vancouver puts a unique twist on the holiday with an annual skydiving fest that includes a mustache competition and bonfire.

Puebla, Mexico

A military parade and battle re-enactment highlight the festivities in the city where Cinco de Mayo started, accompanied by an endless parade of mole poblano in the gastronomic hub.

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