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Subject Happy Cinco de Mayo! A Quintessentially 'American' Holiday
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No, Cinco de Mayo Is Not Mexican Independence Day Here's What It Is



Today marks the 154th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo, a bicultural celebration that has become synonymous with margaritas, cervezas (beer) and the occasional controversy. But we found most people don't know the real story behind this holiday.

So here are five facts that will probably surprise you about Cinco de Mayo:

1. It's not Mexico's Independence Day: Cinco de Mayo commemorates the triumph of the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862..


2. Cinco de Mayo commemorates a military victory over France not Spain....


3. Cinco de Mayo is a bigger celebration in the U.S. than in Mexico...

"It (Cinco de Mayo) started out as a cultural celebration, then became bigger and bigger," said Sánchez. "And at some point it became very commercial; with people taking advantage of the day to drink all the Coronas they can drink."

The evolution of Cinco de Mayo can be seen as a metaphor for Mexican-American assimilation...

In the 1980s and 1990s, corporations (especially the alcohol and restaurant industries) began promoting Cinco de Mayo as a way to reach Hispanic consumers and sell products like tequila and beer. So over time, this "foreign" holiday has become firmly ingrained in U.S. consciousness; Cinco de Mayo received its own commemorative postage stamp in 1998 and is also customarily observed at the White House.


4. Cinco de Mayo has a connection to the U.S. Civil War... Cinco de Mayo is very much an American holiday.


5. The hero of the original Cinco de Mayo was a Texan. General Ignacio Zaragosa, who led the ragtag Mexican forces to victory over the superior French army, was born near what is now Goliad, Texas. "This fact should make Americans, especially Texans, very proud of their connection to that event," ...

...the fact that a Tejano (or "Tex-Mex") has a link to Cinco de Mayo reflects the reality that Mexican history is part of American history...

[link to www.nbcnews.com]
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