Like the people who play bagpipes (Scottish) in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade (Irish-American), this whole "Cinco de Mayo as Mexican Independence Day" thing bugs me. I knew calling it "Independence Day" was not quite right but I didn't have all the facts. However, now that I've consulted a thing called the internet, I can tell the story just as well as any city college history teacher with coffee breath and a combover.
Independence Day is September 16th. That's when Mexico went to war against Spain in 1810. This act eventually led to Mexico's self rule. ¡Viva!
Then, from 1846-1848, Mexico and the US were at war because the US annexed Texas. This, as we all now know, was a HUGE mistake as nothing good has ever came out of the American version of Texas except Beyoncé, Ann Richards, and my friend, Danielle.
By the 1860's, Mexico was broke and in debt to several foreign governments. In an attempt to get a handle on the situation, President Benito Juarez called for a two year moratorium on paying back the money. Britain and Spain negotiated agreements with Mexico.
But France was all, "Mais, non!" and attacked.
On May 5th, the (probably) really well-dressed French army lost The Battle of Puebla to a Mexican fighting force made up of soldiers and armed, everyday people.
Let me say it again - fancy pants France lost to farmers wielding hunting rifles and machetes...and that's why people celebrate El Día de la Batalla de Puebla on May 5th!
However, in America it's all about getting wasted, a tradition that was, most likely, invented in Texas.