That’s why Texas celebrates Cinco de Mayo

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AUSTIN, TX – Cinco de Mayo is known in the United States, particularly Texas, as another day of drinking margaritas, eating tacos, listening to mariachi music, and people in brightly colored dresses with red ribbons dancing in the streets.

While the special day is a great excuse to remember about Mexican culture, why do Texans make it big on the little Mexican holidays?

The answer lies behind a Texas native, General Ignacio Zaragoza.

The Texan firmly ordered several counter-attacks and held the gates to the capital. The French were forced to retreat to Orizaba with the general’s army to pursue them.

“The national arms have been covered with glory,” wrote Zaragoza in a combat report. “I can proudly state that the Mexican Army has not turned its back on the enemy once in the long struggle it has fought.”

The victory of Zaragoza for the Mexican army meant a significant morale boost for the Mexican army and people, which helped develop a sense of national unity and patriotism during the French invasion.

Unfortunately, Zaragoza’s time in the spotlight was short-lived. On September 8, 1862 – just four months after the Battle of Puebla – he died of typhus at the age of 33.

Today, Zaragoza is a symbol of the bravery and independence of the local Tejano people.

In 1944 the citizens of Goliad founded a General Zaragoza Society, which held the first annual Fiesta Zaragoza in the 1960s.

Every year around Cinco de Mayo, around 5,000 to 8,000 people gather in the small town to enjoy live Tejano music, barbecues, artisans and a ceremony in honor of General Zaragoza at the Zaragoza amphitheater.

During the two-day event, a court will be crowned and Miss Zaragoza will receive a $ 2,000 scholarship, according to the society’s website.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is mainly observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely triumph took place, although other parts of the country also attend the celebration.

Today, many in Puebla state celebrate with military parades, battle replicas, and other festive events.

Given the victory of Zaragoza and Texas’ roots in Mexico, it’s no surprise that Cinco de Mayo remains an integral part of Texan culture.

Facts You Did Not Know About Cinco de Mayo
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Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. Mexico gained independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 (known as dieciseis de septiembre).

Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico. Most banks and government agencies stay open on small holidays.

It’s a miracle Mexico won the battle. The Mexican army was largely outnumbered and poorly supplied. In fact, they were known as the rag army and had only outdated weapons. Yet only 2,000 Mexican soldiers – some of whom hid behind tall cactus plants – defeated 6,000 French soldiers during the battle, which lasted from dawn to early evening.

The Californians were the first to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. A few weeks after the Battle of Puebla, Americans and Latinos in California learned of the valiant efforts of Mexican soldiers through newspaper reports. The residents of the state were so excited they celebrated with parades of people in Civil War uniforms. And in Northern California, a city celebrated with drink, food, and banquets – it was most likely the first Cinco de Mayo festival in the United States.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt commercialized Cinco de Mayo. Although it was celebrated just a few weeks after the Battle of Puebla in the United States, Cinco de Mayo was not officially recognized here until 1933. It was at this point that President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped create the Good Neighbor Policy, which aimed to promote positive relationships with our Latin American neighbors.

Americans eat millions of avocados on Cinco de Mayo. Since Americans eat a lot of guacamole at Cinco de Mayo, avocado sales are booming every year. According to the California Avocado Commission, we eat over 80 million pounds of avocados on Cinco de Mayo in the US alone.





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