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Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May: A Day to Celebrate Heritage and History

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Many believe that this day is linked to Mexican independence, which it is not.

Cinco de Mayo currently has only a regional importance in Mexico. In the United States and other countries, however, the day has come to be known as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.
Like St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest, one doesn't need to be of Mexican decent to enjoy the festivities. Schools have used this day to teach the history and heritage of Mexico. Events and celebrations incorporate foods, music, dancing and demonstrations.

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On May 5, 1862 the smaller Mexican army, with older, more inferior weapons and equipment, defeated the French at Puebla, southwest of Mexico City.

On May 5, 1862 the smaller Mexican army, with older, more inferior weapons and equipment, defeated the French at Puebla, southwest of Mexico City.

Highlights

By Fr Randy Sly
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
5/5/2021 (4 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Mexico, Mexican, Cinco de Mayo, May 5, celebration, Fr Randy Sly

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Cinco de Mayo - "The fifth of May" in Spanish. When we hear those words it is usually related to a party involving Margaritas and exciting Mexican foods. 

But, where did it begin?

Many believe that this day is linked to Mexican independence. It is not.

During the time of the Civil War in the United States, Mexico had problems of its own. The country had borrowed a great deal of money from three European nations: England, Spain and France.

With debt continuing to accumulate, Mexican President Benito Juarez decided to suspend payments of interest to all three.

While negotiations with England and Spain were successful, France, under Napolean III, decided to invade and occupy Mexico to get their money back. His idea was to install Austrian Archduke Maximillian as the new leader of the country.

On May 5, 1862 the smaller Mexican army, with older, more inferior weapons and equipment, defeated the French at Puebla, southwest of Mexico City. The Battle of Puebla was the first battle the French had lost in 50 years, especially since they outnumbered the Mexicans 8,000 to 4,000 soldiers.

Unfortunately, the French reinforced their numbers and, in 1864, Maximillian took the the throne. Under pressure from the U.S., French forces began to withdraw in 1866 and, in 1867, Maximillian was deposed and executed.

Cinco de Mayo currently has only a regional importance in Mexico. In the United States and other countries, however, the day has come to be known as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

Like St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest, one doesn't need to be of Mexican decent to enjoy the festivities. Schools have used this day to teach the history and heritage of Mexico. Events and celebrations incorporate foods, music, dancing and demonstrations.

So, Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Fr Randy Sly is the Chaplain of the ecumenical movement, Common Good. He is  a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. He laid aside that ministry to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church after a lifelong search for the fullness of Christian truth. He participated in Church history when he became one of the first former Anglicans ordained as a Catholic priest for the  Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus
."

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