5 De Mayo: The History Behind The Holiday

In America, 5 de Mayo (May 5th) is known as a Mexican celebration where people drink lots of margaritas. Even though part of this is true, the 5 de Mayo tradition is so much more than just tequila and Mexican goodies. This holiday celebrates an important moment in Mexican History. It’s also part of years of traditions that include family gatherings, parades, mariachi music and, yes, margaritas. Most people think that this day celebrates Mexico’s Independence, when in fact, it has nothing to do with it.

In reality, Mexico got their independence from Spain in September 16, 1810. This was 50 years before 5 de Mayo took place. So, what happened on May 5th?

Going Back in History🇲🇽

After its independence in 1810, Mexico as a new small nation accumulated a large amount of war debt because of their conflicts with the US. They borrowed a lot of money from The United Kingdom, Spain and France. Benito Juarez, the president at the time, had no other option but to suspend any debt payment for two years. The European countries weren’t too happy about this fault of money. They joined forces and decided to sail to Central America to put pressure on Mexico.

Spain and The United Kingdom only wanted to recover the unpaid debts. France on the other hand had different plans. Napoleon III, had a hidden agenda, which was to invade and colonize Mexico. Meanwhile, The United States was having a civil war, which gave Napoleon the best opportunity to invade Mexico. When the Spanish and the British found out about the French’s plans, they broke the alliance and went home.

The Battle of Puebla⚔️

On May 5th of 1862, the French troupes attacked Puebla on their way to Mexico City. What they didn’t know, is that the Mexicans were not going to go without a fight, and so they didn’t. After only a day holding the fort, the French were forced to retreat with more 600 losses. This fight was the first victory of the Mexicans against a long battle against the French. Years later, in 1867, the Mexican regain control of Mexico thanks to the help of the United States. At that moment, their president, Benito Juarez, declared that the Battle of Puebla would be considered a National Holiday called “5 de Mayo”.

The 21st Century Celebration🎊

5 de Mayo is now more celebrated in The United States than in Mexico. In fact, the state that has the world’s largest 5 de Mayo celebration is actually California. So, for this 5 de Mayo we hope you have a wonderful time celebrating famous Mexicans traditions and showcase them on Clapper. We also want you to always keep the amazing history of 5 de Mayo in your memory as the day the Mexicans had their first victory on their fight for freedom.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!