On Cinco de Mayo, friends and family gather to commemorate the history of the Mexican people and the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla.

Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the Fifth of May. On this day in 1862 Mexican peasants won a battle against French invaders in Puebla, Mexico. Many people mistake Cinco de Mayo for Mexican Independence Day, but that happened on September 16, 1810 - more than 50 years earlier. 

On May 5, 1862, Mexican forces, under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza, bravely repelled the invading army of Napoleon III at the town of Puebla de Los Angeles. Though they were outnumbered and facing one of the strongest militaries in the world, the determined Mexican soldiers overcame the French force and proved their place in history as valiant defenders of Mexico’s liberty and right to self-government.

On this anniversary, the courage of the warriors who won the Battle of Puebla is remembered, and the legacy they have passed down through the generations is celebrated. Americans honor the heritage of our neighbors to the south, and celebrate the significant contributions of Mexican Americans to the United States.

People of Hispanic and Mexican descent hold Cinco de Mayo festivals with storytelling, parades, food, and dancing to the beat of salsa and mariachi music.