Cinco de Mayo as celebrated in the United States is one of the more misunderstood holidays out there.
While partying tends to mark the 5th of May, the holiday does not celebrate Mexican independence, as many believe — that's September 16 — but instead has its roots in the Mexican army's unlikely victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla.
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Defeating the French in anything might not seem like much of a victory today, but when Napoleon III led the attack in Mexico in 1861, he did so with a force considered the premier army in the world.
On May, 5, 1862, though, the Mexicans crushed the French, which led to the holiday that in the United States has evolved into a general celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.