Cinco de Mayo
Contrary to what many people believe, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16. Instead, May 5 marks Mexico's victory over better-equipped French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Although the French Empire would counterattack and take the city a year later, the unexpected victory was a morale boost which still has symbolic significance. While in the US, Cinco de Mayo is a popular festival celebrating Mexican American culture, celebrations in Mexico are relatively quiet and focused mostly on Puebla.
In Mexico, the celebration became known as Battle of Puebla Day after President Benito Juárez declared it a national holiday in 1862. Today, the people of Puebla celebrate with parades, speeches, and battle reenactments. The Church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios in Puebla, pictured here, was already nearly 300 years old when the 1862 battle was fought. And human history is just the blink of an eye to ancient Popocatépetl, the smoking volcano which towers over Puebla in the background of our homepage image.