What is Cinco de Mayo?

May 5 is not Independence Day in Mexico

Cinco de Mayo festivities on May 5, 2011 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in Los Angeles, Calif. (Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Cinco de Mayo is a popular holiday that honors Mexican culture, food and traditions, while also commemorating an historic day.

While many celebrate Cinco de Mayo, there’s often some confusion among Americans about the holiday’s origins.

So what important event took place that day 160 years ago?

Every year, Americans and Mexicans in the U.S. gather in remembrance of Cinco de Mayo. It’s typically a day in which many people like to go out for a few drinks, lots of nachos and, of course, tacos.

However, it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day like most people believe. That’s not until Sept.16.

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“It was a battle that was with the French Inquisition in the city of Puebla, which is pretty close to Mexico City. The important fact here is that the U.S. military provided weapons to defend Mexico from the invasion from the French inquisition,” Oswaldo García Quintero said. “They took them out of the way. That’s why they provided weapons to help them out because it was like a coalition between Mexico and the U.S. to try to avoid fighting with the French.”

Cinco de Mayo isn't Mexico's independence day as some believe.

The battle, which essentially helped the U.S., dates back to May 5, 1862.

In Mexico, the holiday isn’t really hyped up as much as it is in the U.S. There are parades and reenactments, but they’re mainly held in Puebla.

Whether you’re Mexican or not, one thing is for sure: It’s a day to highlight the culture and traditions from south of the border.

Central Florida restaurants that have recently been allowed to reopen aren't seeing the usual Cinco de Mayo crowds.

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.