Why We Get To Celebrate With Tacos & Margaritas On Cinco de Mayo

Why We Get To Celebrate With Tacos & Margaritas On Cinco De Mayo

It's time to celebrate all things Mexican - Happy Cinco de Mayo.

So, what exactly is behind the holiday that seems to be all about tequila, tacos and.. well more tequila?

First off - it's not Mexican independence day -- That's September 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates when the Mexican army under General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French in the battle of Puebla in 1862.

Emperor Napoleon III - the nephew of the little guy who's responsible for all those complexes - sent French troops to invade Mexico. The French army showed up uninvited around the gulf coast of Mexico in the state of Veracruz and trekked all the way to Mexico City.

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Why We Get To Celebrate With Tacos & Margaritas On Cinco de Mayo
Martin El Zacateca performs during Cinco De Mayo festivities on May 5, 2011 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, California. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the 1862 Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kelsey Albino, 8, member of Mexica Ballet Folclorico waits to perform during Cinco De Mayo festivities on May 5, 2011 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, California. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the 1862 Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Dancers from Mexica Ballet Folclorico wiat to perform during Cinco De Mayo festivities on May 5, 2011 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, California. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the 1862 Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Seven month old Alexander Mendoza and his father Alfonso Mendoza attend Cinco de Mayo festivities on May 5, 2010, at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, California. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the 1862 Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Members of the Star Dance Academy, including Felicity Sosa, 8, make final adjustments and preparations before taking the stage at the annual Cinco De Mayo festival off the Lovington Highway May 5, 2007 in Hobbs, New Mexico. (Photo by Rick Scibelli/Getty Images)
Members of the Star Dance Academy and there lone mariachi, Cristian Dominguez, 5 try to maintain their focus just minutes before taking the stage at the annual Cinco De Mayo festival off the Lovington Highway May 5, 2007 in Hobbs, New Mexico. (Photo by Rick Scibelli/Getty Images)
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Once they got to the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles - which is a different Los Angeles a two thousand man Mexican army beat the French Army (and they had 3 times as many troops).

Sadly, the French outstayed their welcome for another 6 years but this battle was pivotal in uniting the country of Mexico against their unwanted guests. Today Cinco de Mayo is more of a regional holiday most popularly celebrated in Puebla. But north of the border it's about the celebration of Mexican Heritage and culture in the US.

José Alamillo, Professor of Chicano Studies at U-S-C says "Cinco de Mayo's purpose was to function as a bridge between these two cultures." And In 2005 Congress made Cinco de Mayo an official national holiday.

And like every good commemorative holiday in 'Merica, we've turned it into a national fiesta.

So drink your margaritas, hit your pinata and swim in a vat of queso but remember the two thousand men who made it all possible in the Battle of Puebla.
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