Even if you don't speak Spanish, you know what Cinco de Mayo means. Margaritas. Enchiladas. And yes, plenty of muchachos y muchachas mingling. The holiday's a staple going-out night for singles and couples alike.
Dancing to mariachi music or doing tequila shots may take practice, but sharing these Cinco de Mayo facts is an easy way to impress your date.
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1. Ask a random person what Cinco de Mayo celebrates, and you'll probably hear, "Two-for-one cervezas?" or "Mexican Independence Day?" Wrong and wrong! The latter is on September 16—dieciséis de Septiembre. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the day the Mexican army defeated French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
2. The Mexican state of Puebla is in mountainous East-Central Mexico. It's well known for chapulas, mole poblano and being highly industrialized. (One of these things is not like the other.)
3. Back to the battle... The victory over the French was a really big deal. At the time, the French army hadn't been defeated in nearly 50 years. They had fancy weapons and 8,000 men, but it wasn't enough to beat the 4,000 Mexicans defending Puebla. There hasn't been a European military invasion in the Americas since.
4. The Battle of Puebla was a victory in Mexico, but it also affected the outcome of the American Civil War. Many historians say that France ventured into Mexico, because it wanted to break up the neighboring United States. Had France defeated Mexico, it planned to set up base there and supply the Confederate soldiers. Can you imagine what life would be like now if the northern Union states had lost the Civil War?
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5. People in Mexico don't really celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Many Americans do... even though most don't know what the holiday's about.
But now you do. So go on, impress your date.