“fifth of May”
Cinco de Mayo is not the celebration of Mexican Independence, which is celebrated on September 16th. It is a celebration of the day, May 5, 1862, that the Mexican army defeated the French army at the Battle of Puebla. Although considerably outnumbered, the Mexicans defeated a much better-equipped French army. There were 4,000 Mexican soldiers against 8,000 French soldiers wo were better equipped and had not been defeated for almost 50 years. Since the Battle of Puebla, no country in the Americas has subsequently been invaded by any other European military force.
This single military battle signified defeat of a European colonial power and a victory for the Mexican people and was the roots of Cinco de Mayo.
What Cinco de Mayo has come to be is much more than one battle in the colonial history of Mexico. Rather, it has come to signify Hispanic and Mexican pride and a time to celebrate the rich culture.
Today, this holiday is celebrated by Mexicans, and especially the Hispanic community in the U.S. It is a time of song, dance, partying, and in general a time to be proud to be of Hispanic descent.