May Holidays in Mexico– La Batalla de Puebla–The Battle of Puebla

batalla-puebla

Commonly known as Cinco de Mayo, this day is mistakenly thought to be Mexican Independence day. However, May 5 is officially known as La Batalla de Puebla (The Battle of Puebla)and commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in 1862. In Puebla, there is a reenactment of the battle and is more of a big tadoo than in the rest of Mexico, but it is an official day off with most, but not all, businesses and schools closed.

There remains quite a bit of ignorance about the holiday.  Mexico’s own president, Enrique Pena Nieto, believes the battle to have taken place a mere 20 years ago!

See the video clip here:

cinco-de-mayo

So here’s the lowdown…

When President Benito Juarez defaulted on loans made by France, Britain and Spain, the European countries sent forces to Veracruz to collect. Britain and Spain came to terms with Mexico and left. France decided to invade.

Six thousand French troops set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles. Juarez sent 2,000 untrained indigenous and mixed-blood men under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza. The French lost nearly 500 soldiers in the attack and retreated. Less than 100 Mexicans were killed.

It wasn’t the end of the invasion, however. France didn’t withdraw its forces for 6 more years. Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza after the General who led that rag-tag band to victory but died of typhoid a few months later.

battle of puebla

The U.S. has adopted Cinco de Mayo much as it did with St. Patrick’s Day. Most north of the border celebrations are centered around drinking and maracas rather than any real resemblance to traditional Mexican festivities.

Does that really surprise anyone?

President Obama decided to use Cinco de Mayo in 2015 as a platform for his proposed immigration reform.  Check out the video clip at:

cinco movie

For a better understanding of the complex events surrounding this battle, watch the movie Cinco De Mayo: La Batalla (English Subtitled)or Cinco de Mayo: Yesterday and Today for kids.

cinco de mayo

May is quite the month here in Mexico. Every time you turn around there is another celebration! For other Mexican May holidays see: El Día de los TrabajadoresConmemoración del Escuadron de Pelea 201El Dia de La Santa Cruz y El Dia del AlbañilLa Batalla de PueblaNatalicio de Miguel HidalgoEl Dia de la MadreEl Jueves de la AscensiónPascua de PentecostésEl Día del Maestro, and El Dia del Estudiante

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11 responses to “May Holidays in Mexico– La Batalla de Puebla–The Battle of Puebla

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