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Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). Cinco de Mayo has its roots in the French occupation of Mexico, which took place in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. The 8,000-strong French army, the Mexicans managed to decisively crush the French army, then considered "the premier army in the world". The Puebla victory came to symbolize unity and pride for what seemed like a Mexican David defeating a French Goliath.
Relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. The American Cinco de Mayo celebration originated in the Mexican-American communities of the American West in the 1860s. It originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.
On June 7, 2005, the U.S. Congress issued a Concurrent Resolution calling on the President of the United States to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
Ted Rudow III, MA