Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of a victory that the Mexican Army won against the French in 1862. The French with 6,000 troops charismatically attacked Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. Benito Juárez, who was president at the time, rounded up approximately 2,000 men, mostly of indigenous and mixed ancestry, set out to defend Puebla. The troops were led by General Zaragoza fortified the small town and prepared to defend it from the French. On May 5, 1862, the French army that was well equipped bombarded Puebla with heavy artillery. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening. When the French arrived in Puebla, the Mexican Army had not yet reached Puebla, if it were not for the people of Puebla holding off French Troops, Puebla would have been sacked and the Mexican Army would have been defeated. Many credit the people of Puebla, as the reason Mexico was able to win because they united as a people, showing the power of the people. The French, unsuccessful, withdrew with more than 500 soldiers lost in the battle. Fewer than 100 Mexicans were killed during the battle. Although the victory was not a major strategic victory, it became more of a symbolic holiday of the resistance of the Mexican people. Furthermore, Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday in Mexico, however, it is widely celebrated throughout the United States.

El Cinco.jpg

Cinco de Mayo is officially observed on May 5 in the United States. It has been celebrated in California since the 1860’s

as a testament to the fortitude and strength of Mexican people, it did not become popular until the era of the Chicano/a Movement. On the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, Chicano’s in the southwest began to push back against the inequalities in their own cities and communities. By protesting the education system, the prison establishment and labor practices, Chicano’s demanded reforms and in many ways paved the way for future generations to get a quality education and find a place in higher education, politics and entertainment. Another major component of the movement was to carry on the indigenous culture of their ancestry, which included language, the arts and through literature.

In Pueblo, Colorado, this day has special meaning because of the many Pueblo residents who participated in the Chicano Movement and became prominent activists who took to the streets and the court of law to make extraordinary changes that would change the landscape of Pueblo as it is today. The population of Pueblo has changed dramatically as well. The Pueblo Cinco de Mayo Committee feels a commitment to honor the brave Mexicans who united and used their power to defeat overwhelming odds, but also carry that same commitment to make sure future generation never forget the achievements, art, music and pride of Mexicans. The celebration is held in a safe and educational environment which is conducive to learning and experiencing the foods, music and art of Mexico. Plaza Verde Park Pueblo.jpgd chmural - Copy-page-001.jpg