Cinco de Mayo – May 5, 2022

Everyone knows what May 5, or Cinco De Mayo, means tacos, margaritas, fun, and fiesta. But did you know that without what happened on this fateful day, the United States may have not existed as we know it today? What exactly happened on this day of seemingly endless partying and celebration? Let’s take a deep dive into Mexican-American history!

History of Cinco de Mayo

Let’s start by clearing the biggest misconception: No, Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day. But, that does not mean it’s less important or notable than it actually is, for the history behind it dawns on the importance of the landscape of North America as a whole.

An economically struggling Mexico was intervened by the French for the second time, who had the hopes to gain control of the Latin American country under the rule of Napoleon III. The French General, Charles de Lorencez, directed his army towards the capital of Mexico City, with the intent to overthrow the president of Mexico, Benito Juarez.

But things didn’t go as planned, as they encountered heavy resistance, culminating at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Even if their forces had half the numbers of their opponents, the Mexican Army, led by Ignacio Zaragoza, managed to successfully win over the French army at Puebla, a city just 70 miles from Mexico City. Four days later, on May 9, Juárez declared Cinco de Mayo a national holiday.

While the battle in itself was not a major strategic win, and the French took control of Mexico in 1864, it served to lift the spirits of resistance forces and helped them to gain an alliance with the Americans to successfully make Napoleon’s forces withdraw. Since it is believed the French would have likely aided the Confederacy at the Civil War, Mexico’s resistance likely changed the history of the United States.

Pro-Union Mexican citizens in the state of California heavily celebrated the victory at the Battle of Puebla viewing it as a victory for the Union’s cause, later formalizing and spreading the annual celebrations across all of California, and Mexican-Americans all around.

Cinco de Mayo timeline

May 5, 1862
The Battle is Won

The Battle of Puebla is held and Mexico triumphs over French forces.

May 27, 1862
The First Celebration

The first Cinco de Mayo parties in the US take place in Columbia, California as residing Mexican miners get news of the battle.

May 5, 1863
Gaining Popularity

Formal celebrations happen for the first time in Sonora and spread to other California cities, like San Francisco and Los Angeles

June 7, 2005
An Appeal

The United States Congress called for the observance of Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco de Mayo FAQs

How does Mexico celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

The holiday is not formally observed countrywide, but there is still recognition in some parts. It is a full holiday in the states of Puebla and Veracruz, where battle reenactments and poblano culture displays are held.

Corn tortillas or flour?

Both work! Corn and flour tortillas have different uses: flour tortillas tend to be more flexible, perfect to make burritos and quesadillas, while corn tortillas are gluten-free and filled with nutrients. Fun fact, they’re both Mexican in origin.

Who has the best Cinco de Mayo deals?

Plenty of chain stores give special Cinco de Mayo offers, regardless if they are Mexican-themed or not. From Del Taco to Taco Bell to your local small family-owned Mexican place, search around and you will find an amazing deal.

How to Celebrate Cinco De Mayo 2021

  1. Learn about Mexico

    Discover the beginnings of Cinco de Mayo and expand your appreciation of our southern neighbors. Take the time to learn more about how their history has helped shape our own and the ways in which they have contributed to U.S. culture.

  2. Dance to Mexican music

    Try learning traditional Mexican dances such as Jarabe Tapatío. You can take a class or simply give it a go in your own home. Not only is it fun, but the exercise will help you feel less guilty when you chow down on traditional food later! The bigger the group, the bigger the fun, so invite your friends and have a little dance party!

  3. Cook an authentic meal

    One of the best ways to get to know a culture is through food. So why not try creating a traditional Mexican meal at home, either alone or with friends? Skip the standards — you can have those anytime. Instead of guacamole or tacos, try making pozole or tamales. You’ll love making it as much as eating it.

Why We Love Cinco de Mayo

  1. Good neighbors

    When Mexico celebrates, we celebrate with them. The U.S. would not be what it is today without the support of Mexico’s great citizens. Cinco de Mayo's a great time to revel in all Mexico has to offer and celebrate the country and all it’s added to our own!

  2. Fiestas

    Who doesn’t love a good party? On Cinco de Mayo there are celebrations most everywhere. Someone may invite you to one or you may throw your own. Alternatively, many restaurants, clubs, and organizations host events. It’s a good time to relax, have fun, and enjoy the company of friends and family!

  3. Amazing food

    Cinco de Mayo's an excellent excuse to enjoy Mexican cuisine and even try your hand at a traditional recipe you haven’t had before. If cooking isn’t your thing, go out to eat! Support your local Mexican restaurant and try something new off the menu.

Cinco de Mayo dates

Year Date Day
2021 May 5 Wednesday
2022 May 5 Thursday
2023 May 5 Friday
2024 May 5 Sunday
2025 May 5 Monday

Traditions for Cinco De Mayo

In Mexico, the majority of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations occur in Puebla, where the battle had taken place. People dress up either as French and Mexican soldiers or in colorful outfits to participate in large parades. Patriotic clothing is sold by vendors for people to wear and stalls selling Mexican food are also found everywhere. Although tacos and margaritas are consumed the most on this holiday, as well as mole poblano, which is the official dish of Cinco de Mayo. The battle is also sometimes reenacted for locals and tourists to witness the Mexicans’ grand victory against the French troops. 

Cinco de Mayo is also observed in the United States. Costume parties are hosted for friends and family, with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, white, and green) used in decorations. Mexican folk music is played and danced to. The celebrations are also taken to the streets with large parades and special promotions on Mexican food. 

Cinco De Mayo By The Numbers

2,000 – the number of Mexican soldiers who defended the town of Puebla against 6,000 invading French forces.
16.7% – the percentage of U.S. residents of Mexican origin.
25.7 – the median age of people of Mexican origin in the United States in 2011.
700,000 – the number of U.S. military veterans of Mexican origin.
42% – the percentage of the world’s production of tortillas that Mexico accounts for.
87 million pounds – the number of avocados purchased for Cinco de Mayo.
$38,884 – the annual median income of households with a member of Mexican origin in 2011.
1925 – the year Corona Extra, Mexico’s best-selling beer, was first brewed.
20 – the types of Mexican cheeses to be feasted on — Oaxaca, a white cheese from Southern Mexico, is the most prominent.
60% – the percentage of Mexican farmers who produce corn, mostly used in the production of tortillas and beans.

Let’s get social

Here are some special hashtags for the day.


#CincoDeMayo #CincoDeMayoParty #CincoDeMayoCelebration #CincoDeMayoWeekend #CincoDeMayoFood #CincoDeMayoRecipes #CincoDeMayoParade