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Mi Cinco es su Cinco

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By John Pawlak

Some years ago, several co-workers and I decided to have a little get-together after work to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It was late April and we put up notices to inform the rest of the department, giving the time and place. My office mate, Gary, was a genius when it came to database design and network optimization.  Sadly, that was about the extent of Gary’s analytical capabilities. He asked me, “Sounds like fun. So what day is this party?”

Although more calendar-literate than Gary, most people don’t seem to know what’s even being celebrated. Many think that it’s Mexico’s Independence Day (it isn’t — that’s on Sept. 16).

The origin of the Cinco de Mayo celebration dates back to the battle of Puebla (May 5, 1862) in which the Mexicans, greatly outnumbered by a superior invading army, defeated the French.

Although Mexico won that battle, it eventually lost the war and was occupied by the French for several years afterward. (France placed the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian as Emperor of Mexico). In much of Mexico, the battle of Puebla holds minor significance and for the most part is only observed by the State of Puebla.


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