Many people mistakenly think that Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican independence, much like Independence Day in the United States. In fact, Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, celebrates the Mexican army’s defeat of France in the Battle of Puebla.
This battle took place during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867), which ultimately ended with France withdrawing due to pressure from the United States, who intervened after the Civil War ended.
Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico. It is celebrated primarily in Puebla, where the battle took place. In other parts of Mexico, businesses remain open and life goes on as usual. In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is popularly observed as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.
Use this free printable to teach the holiday to children.