Cinco de Mayo: Five fun facts about the Fifth of May

Although the holiday observes a historic battle in Mexico, it is celebrated with much more fervor north of the border with fiestas, parades, and concerts. Here are five things about Cinco de Mayo, or Fifth of May, that may surprise you.  Have a happy one!

1.  What is Cinco de Mayo about?

Cinco de Mayo marks an outnumbered Mexican army’s victory over an invading French army on May 5, 1862, in Puebla, east of Mexico City.

2. Food!

Cinco de Mayo merits the consumption of lots of Mexican food – and avocados rise to the top because you need them for guacamole.  Americans on this holiday alone are expected to consume more than 70 million pounds of avocados, according to the California Avocado Commission.

3. How did it start?

Although Mexican immigrants observed Cinco de Mayo here as far back as the 1860s, some researchers have traced the first recognized festival to a group of California college students searching for a meaningful way to celebrate their Mexican heritage in the 1960s.

4. The bigger Mexican holiday

Cinco de Mayo is often confused with another Mexican holiday with more cachet south of the border: Dieciséis de Septiembre, which celebrates Independence Day. Mexico’s 10-year struggle to break free from Spain began Sept. 16, 1810 – half a century before the Battle of Puebla.

5. The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo party

Fiesta Broadway, held in downtown Los Angeles, is considered the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration not just in the United States but also around the globe. At least that’s how organizers bill the event that draws more than a half million people to the city of angels each May.

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