Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday celebrated by millions of people every year. Oddly enough, the majority of these people live in the United States rather than Mexico. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla, in which the Mexican army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, overcame significant obstacles in order to defeat the French army. On May 5, 1862, an attacking French army fought against Mexican forces about half the size of their opponents. Despite this decided disadvantage, the Mexican army won the battle. A year later, the Mexican forces would ultimately be defeated by the French. That same year, however, the first Cinco de Mayo celebrations were held in California, with Mexican miners celebrating the heroic efforts of their compatriots a year earlier. Oddly enough, these 1863 celebrations would prove to be the harbinger of things to come, as Cinco de Mayo eventually became a more prominent holiday in the United States than it did in Mexico. The only major Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Mexico where the day is a public holiday but not considered significant (banks and government offices remain open) take place in Puebla, although the neighboring state of Veracruz also treats the day with a larger degree of importance than anywhere else in Mexico. Historical re-enactments of the battle and parades are part of the celebrations in Puebla. Celebrations in the United States are formidable as many people, including those with no ties to Mexico, look forward to May 5th to celebrate Mexican culture and food, as well as the many traditions that make Mexico unique and special Make place. The Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States are similar to the country’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, although many American St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have no connection with Ireland or the Catholic Church. Rather, for people from different backgrounds, the day has become an opportunity to celebrate Irish culture, much like Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture.