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Cinco De Mayo Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About The History Behind The Mexican Holiday?

Yes, you’ve been celebrating this Mexican holiday for as long as you can remember. But take a step back and think about how much you really know about the history behind all the festivities. Cinco de Mayo -- It was the "5th of May" when Mexico defeated the French army in 1862 at The Battle of Puebla.  See our Cinco de Mayo fast facts, by the numbers, and out take our Cinco de Mayo quiz below

by The Numbers

  • 28.3 million - the number of Mexican Americans living in the United States
  • 61 feet - the height of the world's largest Pinata, created by Carnival Cruise Lines in 2008
  • 564 - the number of calories in the 12 ounce margarita
  • 234,507 tons - the amount of avocados imported from Mexico in 2008


Cinco De Mayo Quiz:  (Answers below)

Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico's defeat of an army from:

a.  Spain

b.  Texas

c.   France 

d.  England


The victory celebrated on Cinco de Mayo took place in 1862. How long was it before the enemy was actually ousted from Mexico?

a.  Five years 

b.  10 years

c.   Six months

d.  15 years


The whole thing started over:

a.  Gold

b.  Money 

c.   Religious identity

d.  Agricultural land


Cinco de Mayo is celebrated primarily in:

a.  The U.S.

b.  The Mexican state of Puebla

c.   Mexico City

d.  Both a) and b) 


The Mexican figure most closely associated with Cinco de Mayo is:

a.  Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

b.  Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza 

c.   Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla

d.  Paulina Rubio


The United States didn't intervene because:

a.  It was pursuing an isolationist policy.

b.  It favored France, a valued trading partner.

c.   It was consumed by its own internal problems. 

d.  The governor of Texas asked that it not.


One group of Mexicans sided with the French. They were:

a.  Conservative landholders 

b.  Peasants

c.   Zapotec Indians

d.  Both b) and c)


The president of Mexico at the time was:

a.  Porfirio Diaz

b.  Benito Juarez 

c.   Carlos Salinas de Gortari

d.  Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna





What is Cinco de Mayo?
Literally "the Fifth of May," Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. In 1861, France sent a massive army to invade Mexico, as they wanted to collect on some war debts. The French army was much larger, better trained and equipped than the Mexicans struggling to defend the road to Mexico City. It rolled through Mexico until it reached Puebla, where the Mexicans made a valiant stand, and, against all logic, won a huge victory. It was short-lived, as the French army regrouped and continued; eventually taking Mexico City, but the euphoria of an unlikely victory against overwhelming odds is remembered every May fifth.

Isn't it Mexico's Independence Day?
That's a common misconception. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, because it was on that day in 1810 that Father Miguel Hidalgo took to his pulpit in the village church of the town of Dolores and invited his flock to take up arms and join him in overthrowing Spanish tyranny. Independence Day is a very important holiday in Mexico and not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo.

How Big a Deal is Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in Puebla, where the famous battle took place but it really isn't as important as most people think. September 16, Independence Day, is a much more important holiday in Mexico. For some reason, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States of America, by Mexicans and Americans alike, than it is in Mexico. One theory for why it is more popular in the USA is that at one time, it was celebrated in all of Mexico and by Mexicans living in former Mexican territories such as Texas and California.