Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is one of two days, which mark Mexico’s independence from foreign rulers. Mexico’s official independence day (el Dieciseis de Septiembre ) is celebrated on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo is considered a day of great importance but is a public holiday in Puebla only.
It marks the day in 1862, when President Benito Juarez sent troops to face an invading French army that was marching toward Mexico City.
After the end of the Mexican-American War (1846-48), Mexico was in a state of national crisis . Years of fighting with the Americans and a civil war had left the country in chaos and virtually penniless.
On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez announced that all foreign debt payments would be suspended for a period of two years, promising that payments would resume after this brief break.
The English, Spanish and French refused to accept the supension of payments and invaded Mexico, in an attempt to get enforce their. The Spanish and English eventually withdrew their forces, but the French carried on.
On May 5, in the little town of Puebla, a small, untrained, and under-equipped army defeated the invading French army in what came to be known as the "Batalla de Puebla" on the fifth of May.
In addition to its importance in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is significant to many Americans.
In fact, the United States celebrates Cinco de Mayo on a much larger scale than Mexico, with parades, battle re-enactments, mariachi music, traditional foods, piñatas and fireworks mark the day. Though for many years Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the US inaccurately promoted Cinco de Mayo as Mexican Independence Day.
Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate freedom and liberty, and although Mexican citizens feel very proud of the meaning of Cinco de Mayo it is not a national holiday in Mexico, but it is an official holiday in the State of Puebla where the mentioned battle took place.