Denton's Cinco de Mayo Celebration

The Denton Cinco de Mayo Celebration is about providing the spirit of celebration and friendship by sharing and showcasing rich cultural traditions, songs, dances, art exhibits and foods of the Hispanic Community. This Cinco de Mayo Celebration is a benefit to the Denton Community because it is "THE" Hispanic event of the year. This celebration began as a city event planned and implemented by staff, and over the years it has evolved to include broad community-based support.


Currently it is planned and implemented by a volunteer committee with considerable support from the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department staff. The event that just a few years ago was limited to the area between the Senior Center and Civic Center Pool has now grown to include two entertainment stages, and use of the whole Quakertown Park and Civic Center.

The event brings together many faces in the community. We work with so many local organizations and clubs

Thanks to all of those that contribute to this event to make it possible. The success of Cinco de Mayo brings over 6,000 visitors to the park each year from Denton and the surrounding Metroplex.


History of Cinco de Mayo

The origination for Cinco De Mayo, The Fifth Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, but is also celebrated in other parts of the country and in U.S.cities with a significant Mexican population. It is not, as many people think, Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually September 16.


Historical Background
The battle at Puebla in 1862 happened at a violent and chaotic time in Mexico's history. Mexico had finally gained independence from Spain in 1810, and a number of internal political takeovers and wars, including the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the Mexican Civil War of 1858, had mostly wiped out the national economy.

During this period Mexico had accumulated heavy debts to several nations, including Spain, England and France, who were demanding payment. Similar debt to the U.S. was previously cleared after the Mexican-American War. France was eager to add to its empire at that time, and when Mexico finally stopped making any loan payments, France used the debt issue to establish its own leadership in Mexico by installing Napoleon's relative, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, as ruler of Mexico.

France invaded the Gulf coast of Mexico and began to march toward Mexico City. Although American President Abraham Lincoln was sympathetic to Mexico's cause, and for which he is honored in Mexico, the U.S. was involved in its own Civil War at the time and was unable to provide any assistance.

Marching on toward Mexico City from the coast, the French army encountered strong resistance at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. Lead by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, a small, poorly armed militia of about 4,500 were able to stop and defeat a well outfitted French army of 6,500 soldiers, which halted the invasion of the country. The victory was a glorious moment for Mexican patriots and is the cause for the historical date's celebration.

Unfortunately, the victory was short lived. Upon hearing the bad news, Napoleon had found an excuse to send more troops overseas to try and invade Mexico again, against the wishes of the French populace. 30,000 more troops and a full year later, the French were eventually able to depose the Mexican army, take over Mexico City and install Maximilian as the ruler of Mexico. Maximilian's rule of Mexico was also short lived, from 1864 to 1867, ending as the U.S. began to provide more political and military assistance to Mexico to expel the French. Despite the eventual French invasion of Mexico City, Cinco de Mayo honors the bravery and victory of General Zaragoza's small, outnumbered militia at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Today's Celebration
For the most part, the holiday of Cinco de Mayo is more of a regional holiday in Mexico, celebrated most vigorously in the state of Puebla. Though there is recognition of the holiday throughout the whole country, it's nothing like that found in Puebla.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo has become increasingly popular along the U.S.-Mexico border and in parts of the U.S. that have a high population of people with a Mexican heritage. In these areas the holiday is a celebration of Mexican culture, of food, music, beverage and customs unique to Mexico.

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