AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — May 5th is Cinco de Mayo. For this day, one might think of the day as an excuse to have lots of drinks and a variety of Mexican dishes, but what exactly is the meaning behind Cinco de Mayo?

Even with Cinco de Mayo being a minor holiday in Mexico, in the US it has become a big celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. On May 5, Mexico had an unexpected victory defeating the French in the battle of Puebla.

West Texas A&M University History Professor Dr. Bryan Vizzini said Porfirio Diaz was the commander that took them to victory on that day.

“He’s one of these guys who are riding around on horseback, kind of a revolutionary type leader. He is a true man of action,” said Vizzini. “He almost single-handedly breaks French resistance at the Battle of Puebla on May 5 of 1862. This was expected to be a very lopsided showing in favor of the French. And suddenly, this is a symbol that Mexico can defeat this much more powerful foreign enemy.”

That day and battle went down in history.

“The ability to defeat what would have been arguably one of the greatest militaries on the planet, in the 1860s really speaks well to Mexican identity, Mexican capability, and what it means to celebrate being Mexican,” said Vizzini.

Vizzini went on to explain that the Battle of Puebla is one of the consequential episodes in Mexican history and that it was the beginning of the end.

“For Mexicans, it’s the beginning of the end it,” said Vizzini. “Cinco de Mayo means the beginning of the end of a French occupation that took place during the American Civil War when we were otherwise engaged and couldn’t defend Mexico on the basis of the Monroe Doctrine.”

Not only does Cinco de Mayo impact Mexican history but it also impacted the economy here in the U.S. A very fun fact is that every year around 2.9 billion dollars are spent on margaritas, according to Forbes.

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