This year’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations will look wildly different from previous years, which were often marked by public gatherings at parks and local watering holes. But COVID-19 doesn’t mean people can’t celebrate the holiday at home (or over Zoom).
Social distancing also provides the perfect opportunity to brush up on the history of the holiday. With that in mind, lets delve into the origins Cinco de Mayo. And for those who long to celebrate with a cocktail, you will find a few easy cocktail recipes you can make at home.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla (the Mexican Army’s victory over France), but it’s really not a major holiday here in Mexico. It’s not even a federal holiday here. People in the U.S. sometimes mistakenly think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but that’s actually celebrated in September. For some reason, it has become such a popular time in the U.S. to drink tequila.
Mexico had lost several wars during the 1800s, which led them to bankruptcy, and unable to fulfill loans from several European countries. Although the others accepted extensions (Spaniards and British), the French did not. May 5th marks the day of Mexico’s major victory over the larger, and more powerful French army in the Battle of the Puebla; when France sought both money and land as re-payment.
Mexican Independence Day is observed on September 16. We celebrate with festive decorations and parades in town plazas across the country, and of course traditional foods and tequila.