Today marks the 160th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo. While it’s a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, the annual fiesta is an excuse in the United States to indulge in margaritas, cervezas (beer), guacamole and tacos.
Many people tend to confuse Cinco de Mayo with “Día de la Independencia,” or Mexico’s independence day. That holiday, also known as “El Grito de la Independencia,” is actually observed on Sept. 16, when Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain.
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration but a day of remembrance, commemorating Mexico’s victory over the French during the 1862 Battle of Puebla. An outnumbered Mexican army — led by Ignacio Zaragoza, a 33-year-old Texan from Goliad — defeated the invading French forces at the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles during the Franco-Mexico War.
The retreat of the French troops represented a great victory for the people of Mexico, symbolizing the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty against a powerful foreign nation.
Source: What Is Cinco de Mayo and Why Is It Celebrated? – NBC New York