Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is the day that honors the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. This battle was part of the war between the two countries which took place from 1861 to 1867. In 1861, France, Britain, and Spain sent naval forces into Mexico because Mexico was unable to repay the debt that they owed to these countries. Britain and Spain made a deal with Mexico and withdrew their forces; but France refused.
At the time, France was ruled by Napoleon III who wanted to use this opportunity to take control over Mexico. French troops were sent in to attack the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles . The president of Mexico, Benito Juárez, gathered up troops to fight the French. However the French soldiers vastly outnumbered the Mexican soldiers. Miraculously, the Mexican army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, won the battle. Although the war with France continued, this victory at Puebla symbolized the resilience of the country.
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is mostly observed in Puebla, but other parts of the country do take part in some celebrations. Many people think that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican Independence. This is not the case. Mexican Independence day is celebrated on September 16th and it commemorates the anniversary of the declaration of war on the Spanish colonial government that occurred in 1810.
Recipes for Cinco de Mayo (or any other day because they taste really good)