Cinco de Mayo is this Sunday, May 5. While many use it as the chance to enjoy a margarita and Mexican food, there's more to the holiday than tequila.
Here are five things to know about Cinco de Mayo.
It's not celebrating Mexican independence.
Mexico's Independence Day is actually on Sept. 16, which is the day priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla launched a call to arms against Spain in 1810.
Cinco de Mayo is actually celebrating a military victory.
May 5 is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, where Mexico defeated France. The French were trying to establish a monarchy there after Mexico had defaulted on its debts to France. General Ignacio Zaragoza's poorly supplied troops overcame a 6,000-strong French army. The battle was a relatively small victory, but helped gain support for Mexican resistance to the French.
It isn't as widely celebrated in Mexico as you might think.
Cinco de Mayo is an optional national holiday, and celebrations vary from state to state. However, people in Puebla, where the Battle of Puebla took place, have a large celebration with a battle reenactment, parade and other festivities.
One of the most traditional dishes of Cinco de Mayo is Mole Poblano.
... Not tacos and margaritas, as Americans have been led to believe. Mole is a thick sauce made with chiles, spices and more, often served over chicken.
Cinco de Mayo is a bigger deal in the U.S. than in Mexico.
Celebrations in the Southern California started only a year after the Battle of Puebla to show solidarity with Mexico against the French. Celebrations continued yearly after. In the 1950s and 1960s, it became more widespread as an opportunity to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride in the U.S. One of the largest celebrations in the world is in Los Angeles.
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