The first Cinco de Mayo celebration was held in California, thanks to a group of students from the California State University who wanted to commemorate the victory of the Mexicans over the French invasion. Cinco de Mayo means the fifth of May, and is a significant day to the Americans and Mexicans. On this day, the untrained and underequipped army of 4,500 Mexican soldiers fought against a well-armed French army of 8,000. The Battle of Puebla is a memorable victory by General Ignacio Zaragoza, who led the army of commoners in stopping the French from invading Mexico and North America.
A Cinco de Mayo history recalls the battle on May 5, 1862, starting in the middle of the afternoon, and ending in nightfall. It marks the turning point of the national pride of the Mexicans because it showed that they have unity and patriotism. Even though their army was small with 4,500 soldiers, they fought bravely against the French who were almost double in numbers.
Cinco de Mayo should not be confused with Mexican Independence Day because it is celebrated every 16th of September. This celebration is also important to Americans because it marks the end of foreign invasion in North American soil. Other interesting facts about Cinco de Mayo is that it is one of the 365 festivals that Mexicans celebrate yearly. Although this historic event happened in Mexico, the largest celebration of Cinco de Mayo is held yearly in Los Angeles California. They call it Festival de Fiesta Broadway where more than 600,000 people come and enjoy music, food, shopping, and entertainment.
To commemorate this historic victory, Mexicans start the day by parading in the streets dressed as French soldiers with knapsacks and rifles, Mexican soldiers with machetes and rifles, and women dressed in hats and floral skirts that represent the “soldaderos” who accompanied the Mexican soldiers. These women cared for the Mexican army and cooked their food, and traveled with them during battle.
To commemorate the battle, it is re-enacted in the plaza by mid noon. Complete with smoke and sounds of firing rifles and canons, spectators will be amazed by the portrayal of the Battle of Pueblo. Come nightfall, General Ignacio is victorious and the French invasion is no more. The festive night is ended with speeches from government officials, and is followed by a night of dancing, bull fighting, and games for both adults and kids, including the classic piñata game.
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