Cinco De Mayo, the middle sibling of America’s St. Patrick’s Day through Independence Day party bender, is often misunderstood. Like St. Patrick’s Day, the original meaning of the celebration has been lost on many in this country and has become an excuse to throw back a few (or few dozen) drinks.
Hey, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. That’s what we do well in this country. But for the sake of expanding on the cheeky videoabove, let me hit you with some actual knowledge real quick:
Cinco De Mayo, contrary to popular opinion, is not a celebration of Mexico’s independence. Rather, it’s a day to recognize the Mexican Army’s impressive defeat of numerically and technologically superior French forces in 1862 near the southern territory of Puebla. As the French Army made its way to take the capital of Mexico City, a ragtag group of Mexican soldiers retaliated with such a brutal beating that the French hightailed it out of there faster than you can say “crêpe.”
That defeat almost singlehandedly restored national pride to a country that had been torn apart by civil war and foreign invasions for decades, and to this day it has become a staple celebration throughout the entire continent. Congratulations: Now you can go drink in peace.