Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates the victory of the Mexican Army over the French in 1862 at the Batalla de Puebla (Battle of Puebla), about 100 miles east of Mexico City. "Although, the Mexican army was later defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that Mexico and all of Latin America were willing to defend themselves of any foreign intervention. Especially those from imperialist states bent on world conquest" (Cinco de Mayo, UCLA)
Many in the U.S. wrongly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican Independence, which took place more than 50 years earlier in 1810. The holiday of Cinco de Mayo has evolved into more of a Chicano celebration in the US and on a much grander scale than in Mexico. "People of Mexican descent in the United States celebrate this significant day by having parades, mariachi music, folklorico dancing and other types of festive activities" (Cinco de Mayo - UCLA).