Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

cinco de mayo
cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a deceiving holiday because even though the name is in Spanish, it is mostly celebrated by Americans.

Many of us will go out today, eat some tacos or other traditional Mexican food, and use this “holiday” as an excuse to consume more alcohol than the ordinary day would allow.

On top of that, a few of us (like me) use it as an excuse to dress up.

But how did this day, Cinco de Mayo (which means 5th of May in Spanish [and if you didn’t know that, I feel really bad for you]) come to be?

While you are out celebrating today, ask those around you what today is celebrated for?

 I can bet you will get a lot of “I don’t know” and a few who say, “Mexican Independence day”.

Wrong.

Mexican Independence day is celebrated on September 16.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the miraculous victory for the Mexican forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexico was having difficulty repaying war debt that was owed to a majority of Europe and so the French army, led by Napoleon III, invaded.  Even though the French army was far superior in numbers and equipment, the Mexican forces were victorious at the Battle of Puebla. Unfortunately, this only temporarily halted the French army, who after receiving reinforcements proceeded to conquer the capital and take control of Mexico. It wouldn’t be for over 5 years that Mexico would regain control.

battle of puebla

This day was traditionally celebrated by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as a reminder of how many times Mexico has been invaded by other countries and yet on this day they overcame the odds and were victorious. But now it is more of an American holiday than a Mexican one because the holiday has in large part lost its roots and meaning.

So now you know.

How will we apply what we have learned to our lives?

1 Timothy 2:1-4
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Any time there is a cultural holiday or national event it is a good reminder to pray for one’s country or specific cultural group. Even though there is no direct religious significance tied to Cinco de Mayo, we can take time to reflect on God’s blessings on our country.

Praise God for our religious freedom here in the United States. Thank the Lord that we are not being bombed and invaded by other countries wondering if we will even live through the day. Pray for the people in Mexico whose government has been corrupted by the powerful drug cartels and other groups of organized crime. Pray for leaders with unwavering morals to be given positions of power.  Pray that God will help Mexico to eradicate evil forces who kidnap children for sex slavery and seize power through a myriad of violent crimes and terrorism.

So before or after you enjoy your margarita and fish taco, make sure you take a moment to bow your head, praise God for the freedoms we have and pray for the leadership of our country and our neighbors in Mexico.

cinco de mayo drinks
fish tacos cinco de mayo

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