What is it?
It's literally the fifth of May.
OK, but why is it celebrated?
Well in 1862 the Mexican army were victorious over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A French army of 6,000 soldiers was repelled by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin and his rag-tag, poorly equipped army of only 2,000. The victory was a bigger shock than Leicester winning the Premier League!
So is this Mexican Independence Day?
No. That's a common misconception. Mexican Independence Day is actually on on September 16. The revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”) was a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810. A solid 50 years before Cinco de Mayo.
It's a big holiday in Mexico then?
Well no, not really. It's celebrated in the state of Puebla and there are other parades and events around the country but for most people it's just an ordinary day. It's not even a federal holiday.
So why does it seem to be such a popular holiday?
Well it's pretty big in the United States. Especially in the states where large populations of Mexicans live. It's treated as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. You can expect to see plenty of parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano.
You lived in Phoenix, was it a big day there?
Huge. It was a great excuse to indulge in Mexican food and drink. Who doesn't love a nice cold Corona and a slice of lime to accompany their dinner?
Barriga llena, corazón contento!