Cinco de Mayo, Mexico

A day of family, food and fun, Mexico's 'Cinco de Mayo' festival celebrates the anniversary of the Mexican Army's unlikely victory over French forces in 1862.

The history of Cinco de Mayo

Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo (May 5) celebrations might initially seem a bit of an obscure one to untutored European eyes. So let us explain.

Cinco de Mayo has developed into an annual celebration of Mexican culture – now in the form of partying and general good times, with a background of historical significance – in both Mexico itself and cities with large Mexican influence across North America.

The roots of Cinco de Mayo stem back to a victory by the Mexican army against the invading French at the Battle of Puebla, on that day in 1862.

The celebrations

There’s the history bit, then. But how do Mexicans let their hair down nowadays when Cinco de Mayo comes around?

The town of Puebla remains to this day the focal point of Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Here, you’ll see local people donning 19th century Mexican and French military uniforms, and even taking part in organised re-enactments of the battle.

And rest assured, at Cinco de Mayo events there is never any shortage of music, dancing, live Mariachi bands, terrific street food and Mexican beer on tap, either. Good news.