May 5th celebrationsMay 5 has arrived, and with it come extravagant Cinco de Mayo celebrations around the country. The day is widely recognized as a time to drink margaritas, eat guacamole and celebrate Mexico's cultural heritage, many people know relatively little about the true meaning of the Mexican holiday. To clear up some misconceptions, here are some important facts about the celebration of heritage and culture. It’s not Mexican Independence Day. Mexican Independence Day is celebrated September 16. Cinco de Mayo, on the other hand, honors the Battle of Puebla that took place May 5, 1862. During the battle, also known as El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, a group of only 2,000 Mexicans was outnumbered by 10,000 French troops. But only 100 Mexican soldiers died, while the French lost about 500 in the battle. Cinco de Mayo translates to the Fifth of May.
The holiday is celebrated more in the United States than elsewhere. Though it’s heralded as a Mexican tradition, the holiday is a far bigger deal in the U.S, especially in regions with large Mexican-American populations. In Mexico, the largest celebrations take place in Puebla and Veracruz, where military re-enactments are held.
One of the most popular dishes eaten in Mexico on Cinco de Mayo is mole poblano, a thick chocolate sauce served over meats and other items. Some favorite recipes include chalupas, or fried tortillas, and chiles en nogada, or peppers stuffed and fried. The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration takes place in Los Angeles. Known as the Festival de Fiesta Broadway, the 2017 event was expected to bring an estimated 300,000 people. The U.S. drinks an exorbitant amount of tequila to celebrate the holiday. In 2014, Americans bought 12.3 million cases of tequila for Cinco de Mayo, twice as much as was consumed in Mexico, according to the Daily Meal. About 43 percent of all cocktails ordered on the holiday in the U.S. were margaritas. Americans also eat a ton of avocados on the holiday. More than 81 million avocados are consumed on Cinco de Mayo, according to the California Avocado Commission!
by Debbie Christensen, Author
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