Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory over France; food is key part of celebration

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 11:06 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - In queso you didn’t know, Friday is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday widely celebrated in America. But many gather without knowing what the holiday means.

Many people believe it’s Mexico’s independence, but it’s not. Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French in the battle of Puebla in 1862.

The French sent troops to force Mexico’s President Benito Juárez and the government out of Veracruz.

May 5, 1862, in a small town called Puebla, 2,000 Mexican soldiers faced 6,000 French troops at daybreak. Against all odds, Mexico claimed victory by the evening, and Juárez declared Cinco de Mayo a national holiday.

Cinco de Mayo is mainly celebrated where the battle happened – Puebla. But in America, many Mexican-Americans have embraced the holiday.

Restaurants across our hometowns have deals on tacos and margaritas for the holiday.

WDBJ7 talked to Tacos Rojas co-owner Antonio Rojas who will have live music and deals all day.

“Cinco de Mayo is important in Mexico because they beat France in an attempt to invade,” said Rojas.