Meaning Behind Cinco De Mayo Celebrations - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Meaning Behind Cinco De Mayo Celebrations

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Most people think Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican Independence Day, but that's not exactly the case.  

This holiday honors the Battle of Puebla. Back on May 5th. 1862, 4,500 Mexican troops faced 6,000 French soldiers. Historical accounts say the battle lasted four hours, and ended in a victory for Mexico.

Mexican troops were led by general Ignacio Zaragoza. The real Mexican Independence Day goes back to September 16th., 1910. Nearly 50 years after the battle against the French.

Now that you know a little bit of history, in the US Cinco de Mayo celebrations started in California back in the 1860s. Since then it's been a day to honor Mexican heritage.

As of 2006 US residents of Mexican descent make up close to 30 million of the nation's population.