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Weekend Express with Lynn Smith

Fast-paced look at the day's essential news and buzz-worthy stories

11 facts you need to know about Cinco de Mayo

  • Cinco de Mayo is about more than an excuse to gorge yourself on guacamole
  • Holiday celebrates Mexico's victory over France at Battle of Puebla
11 facts you need to know about Cinco de Mayo

Cinco ingredients + $40 = one amazing fiesta!

Cinco ingredients + $40 = one amazing fiesta!

Learn how to spot authentic Mexican dishes

Learn how to spot authentic Mexican dishes

Cinco de Mayo may be a day devoted to eating tortilla chips and wearing sombreros for you and your amigos, but there's much more to the holiday.

Before you enjoy your margarita and guacamole, educate yourself!

We compiled some fun facts to help you get in the spirit!

  • In case your Spanish is muy rusty. Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the fifth of May.
  • The holiday celebrates an unexpected victory. The holiday actually celebrates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Mexican army won the battle despite being smaller and ill-equipped.
  • Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That occurred 50 years prior to the Battle of Puebla. It is celebrated on September 16.
  • Cinco de Mayo is a bigger deal in the United States. In Mexico, the day is observed with political speeches and battle reenactments. Many of the actual celebration and battle re-enactment take place in Puebla.
  • In fact, the world's largest Cinco celebration takes place in Los Angeles. This year's Festival de Fiesta Broadway is expected to draw 300,000 people. Cities like New York City, Denver and Houston also throw large parties in honor of the day.
  • Chandler, Arizona, even celebrates the day. There are Chihuahua races and even crowning two of the dogs king and queen.
  • Cinco de Mayo is even a popular name for a song. Musical artists like War, Senses Fail and Liz Phair all have songs titled after the holiday.
  • Americans consume up to 81 million avocados on Cinco de Mayo, according to the California Avocado Commission. The creamy food is used for guacamole, a popular Mexican dish.
  • According to Smithsonian magazine, more than one person has claimed they invented the margarita. Carlos “Danny” Herrera reportedly developed the drink for an actress at his Tijuana-area restaurant in 1938.
  • There are 367 U.S. tortilla manufacturing establishments, according to the United States Census. Tortillas are often referred to as the "bread of Mexico" and an integral part of the Aztecs' diet.
  • 33.6 million U.S. residents come from Mexican heritage, according to the United States Census.

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