¡ Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Today, May 5th, many of us will experience a colorful and festive celebration around us or be partaking in it ourselves. The holiday commonly known Cinco de Mayo features an abundance of foods, cocktails, and decoration of Mexican original or association. Margaritas, salsa and chips, tacos, nachos, enchiladas, and churros are just some of the tasty treats which are in abundance at restaurants and bars across the country.

But a mainstream holiday such as this often has its share of a cloudy history. Why is Cinco de Mayo
celebrated and what is its significance in Mexico’s history?

Brief History of Cinco de Mayo1

The “Fifth of May” focuses on the battle known as “The Battle of Puebla” which took place on May 5, 1862. A military invasion by the highly trained French army started in Mexico City and resulted from a defaulted loan the French gave to the Mexican government.  The long and casualty stricken battle was lost in Mexico City, but valiantly won in the City of Puebla, one of the country’s largest cities.  Though it was not a complete military defeat of the French, as Mexico eventually surrendered in Mexico City, the battle of Puebla remains a marked win given the overwhelming odds that the French army posed.

How it is celebrated today

The primary region of celebration in Mexico is limited to the city of Puebla alone because of its direct history and importance in the actual battle. The trend was carried over into the United States by Mexican immigrants living in Texas and California. It eventually became popularized by the U.S. as a Mexican cultural holiday. Arguments can be made that, in fact, Cinco de Mayo is more popular in the U.S. than Mexico as a whole.

In Puebla, festivities include parades featuring Mariachi bands, colorful decorations, and many traditional Mexican dishes. In addition, popular beers such as Corona and Dos Equis are served alongside tequila and tequila-based cocktails..

Micro Photonics celebrates Cinco de Mayo

In festive sentiment, the MicroCT lab here at MPI has dedicated May 2014’s Image of the Month featuring a popular (and delicious) brand of tequila. A two part image, one is an unopened miniature bottle of tequila, and the second is a classic tequila shot.

Read more about the science behind the imaging by clicking here.


  1. http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/thehistoryofmexico/



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