Cinco de Mayo History in Puebla

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, and while most of us will celebrate with a taco and a margarita, the origins of this holiday are honorable and remarkable. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army successfully defeated the French forces at the Battle of Puebla. I had the opportunity to visit Puebla, Mexico, and learned all about the history and significance of this day.

After flying into Mexico City, I drove nearly 2.5 hours to reach Puebla. The city is bustling with a population of over 2 million people, making it the fourth largest city in Mexico. A vibrant place with renowned architecture, Puebla was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. The forts where the Battle of Puebla took place are an often-visited site, which is where I spent one of my days.

The French invaded Mexico in 1861 with a larger and more-equipped army to demand reimbursement for their debt. On May 5, 1862, the French army attacked Puebla and faced a resilient Mexican defense. That same day, the French retreated and surrendered the Battle of Puebla. While the French would go on to capture Mexico City and establish reign until 1867, the Battle of Puebla was a more symbolic victory that helped boost confidence and patriotism for the country.

Today, the battle is commemorated in Puebla with a parade and a reenactment. The event is only truly observed regionally and is not considered a major holiday throughout the rest of the country. The party however certainly heats up north in the United States, where they day is celebrated culturally for Mexican heritage.

Enjoy the festivities and try to incorporate mole into your party menu – after all, Puebla is its birthplace!

xx Jet Set Steph