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Cinco de Mayo 2022: No, it’s not Mexican Independence Day; Holiday history and more –

Nuu Davi Dancers Anthony Dominguez, Vanessa Mendoza Ramos, Mariela Davila and Kevin Bernal (Left to right). (Staten Island Advance/ Roger Guevara)
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Today – May 5 – is Cinco de Mayo. And while the day in the U.S. has become a time to enjoy Mexico food and maybe a margarita or two, it officially commemorates the day in 1862 when the Mexican army, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza, conquered the French forces of Napoleon III at the Battle of Puebla. Seen as a symbol of the country’s spirit and perseverance, the victory provided a significant morale boost to the Mexican people.
France withdrew from Mexico in 1867.
Cinco de Mayo – which literally translates to “May 5″ – is not Mexican Independence Day, a totally separate holiday that is celebrated on Sept. 16, and marks the start of the war of Mexican independence from Spain.
Cinco de Mayo in the U.S.
U.S. celebrations of Cinco de Mayo were first held in California in the 1860s among the hundreds of Mexican miners who crossed the border to work in the west.The celebration spread as Hispanic culture grew in the U.S., getting a commercial boost in the 1980s when restaurants and bars began cashing in on the event.
Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday in Mexico, though some schools close and a larger celebration is held in the State of Puebla, where the battle took place.
Some of the largest celebrations in the U.S. are held in Los Angeles and in towns throughout the west. The day is commemorated with celebrations of Mexican cuisine, culture and music.
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