Cinco de Mayo was first celebrated on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla in the Franco-Mexican War. 

I associate Cinco de Mayo with people fighting for freedom and winning against a much more prepared and advanced army,” sophomore Juan Montoya said. “To me, it means the will of the people to keep their independence and their traditions. The holiday is a way of remembering those who fought and died.”

Cinco de Mayo is very different in the U.S. compared to Mexico. Their perspectives on the holiday differ.

“It’s just a battle and in Mexico, we learn about it, but it’s more celebrated in just one state, not so much in the whole country,” Spanish teacher Blanca Sommerfield said. “We know about it through history but we don’t have a big celebration like they do here.”

Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated as an independence day. Mexican Independence Day is on September 16.

“I think most people in the United States are associating Cinco de Mayo with independence which is not true,” Sommerfield said. “But for me, it was nice to see that they celebrate it.”

The holiday is larger in the U.S. than in Mexico. In the U.S. it celebrates Mexican heritage and culture.

“I don’t know if most people know what the celebration is about. I like it because I get to see — like Felipe’s, the Mexican restaurant — had a big thing with mariachi; they had Aztec dancers and I thought it was really cool,” Sommerfield said.

There have been festivities across the United States. People celebrate the holiday in their own way.

I celebrate Cinco de Mayo because I love to represent Mexico and the amazing culture that we have,” sophomore Jessica Garcia said. “My mom likes to make traditional food and have the family over.”