Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th. It commemorates the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when a small Mexican army defeated the invading French army, which was twice its size and much better equipped. This battle came to symbolize Mexican unity and patriotism. It also marks the last time that an army from another continent invaded the Americas. Cinco de Mayo is not a big holiday in Mexico, and it is not Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated across the United States as a day to commemorate Mexican heritage and pride. Parades, mariachi music, dancing, food and other community wide activities mark the day.