On May 5 of every year, it is traditional in Mexican culture to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, translated quite literally to the fifth of May. Cervezas, or beers, are consumed, and the colors red, white and green are worn as people celebrate a historic Mexican holiday.
Cinco de Mayo’s origins lie in the 1800s. The Battle of Puebla took place on May 5, 1862 between the French and Mexican military in the village of Puebla de Los Ángeles. A year earlier, in 1861, Benito Juarez was elected president and defaulted on debts owed to France, who sent in troops to try and rectify the problem. Miraculously the Mexican army, outnumbered three to one, fought back the French and forced them to retreat. Hence, the victory prompted the modern holiday: Cinco de Mayo.
Nowadays, the day is more of a party than anything else, especially here in the U.S. Like the burrito, Cinco de Mayo has evolved to become a more American tradition, where Mexican culture and traditions are honored across the U.S.
To celebrate, many try and speak Spanish. Monica Haskell, an officer of the Spanish Honor Society, teaches five of the most basic Spanish words that will help those with little to no understanding of Spanish understand what’s being said on this Mexican holiday.
Hola — Hello
Goodbye — Adios
Thank You — Gracias
Please — Por favor
Party — Fiesta