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04.28.2011 / It is Time for Cinco de Mayo!

Many Americans mistakenly associate Cinco de Mayo as Independance Day in Mexico, just as we celebrate Independence Day for the United States of America on July 4th every year. The actual Independence Day in Mexico is September 16, celebrating the day in 1810 when the war began that ultimately led to Mexico gaining freedom from Spanish rule.

"Cinco de Mayo is enthusiastically celebrated throughout U.S. cities across the country making it one of the biggest ethnic celebrations of the year."

So what is the significance of the fifth of May in Mexican history?

In 1862, after being an independent nation for over forty years and undergoing a series of internal and external wars, Mexico was heavily in debt to Spain, England, and France. France, in an attempt to build its empire, used the outstanding debt as a reason to send troops to Mexico with the intention of capturing Mexico City and taking over rule of the country.

A well outfitted French army of 6,500 soldiers landed on the gulf coast of Mexico and began marching toward Mexico City. On May 5, 1862 they were met in Puebla, Mexico by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza and a poorly armed band of 4,500 Mexican soldiers. General Zaragoza's army defeated the French.

Though the French later returned with thousands of additional troops and ultimately gained control of Mexico (for a short period of time), the victory at the battle of Puebla continues to hold special significance in the history of Mexico as the brave soldiers courageously defended their freedom.

Today, Cinco de Mayo is enthusiastically celebrated throughout U.S. cities across the country making it one of the biggest ethnic celebrations of the year.

The South Omaha community in Omaha, Nebraska has a rich Mexican heritage. The South Omaha Latino community has been hosting Cinco de Mayo events in Omaha since 1985. Annual festivities include a grand parade, delicious food, lively music and boundless community spirit. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Omaha, Nebraska! April 30 - May 2, 2010, Sponsored by First National Bank.

For more information, go to http://www.cincodemayoomaha.com/

Have you been to Cinco de Mayo in the past? Please share your experience and what you think of the event with others.

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