Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday for people of Mexican heritage. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s surprising victory over an invading French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Mexican Army was led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Seguin was born in the state of Coahuila and Texas (near present Goliad, Texas). Not only did roughly 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeat the well-equipped 6,000 strong French force but they also proved that the Mexican Army could take-on and beat the frijoles out of a formidable European army (the French Army had not been defeated for almost 50 years). Every year, the victory at Puebla is honored with music, dance, food, and all sort of activities. While it would take another 5 years for Mexico to rid itself of the French, since the period from 1862 to 1867, the Americas has not been invaded by any other European military force! That’s reason enough to celebrate in your Texas community.
If you’re looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this coming weekend, here’s our suggestions for place with food, music, and fun for the whole family.
Austin has lots of food and music happening downtown. On Tuesday, May 5th, the 7th Annual La Condesa Downtown Block Party. Beer, tequila, and music starts at 5 pm and it’s free!
Saturday, May 2: Not far away, the Hays Fiesta kicks off in Kyle with food, music, fashion, dance, art and more. Admission is free.
Saturday, May 2: Don’t miss The 27th Dallas Cinco de Mayo Big Parade and Festival with music on the Festival Stage from 10 AM to 3 PM and the parade stepping of at 11 AM from 223 W. Jefferson Blvd. Don’t forget the car show runing from 10 Am to 4 PM.
Saturday, May 2: Denton’s 28th Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration lasts from 10 AM to 6PM, starting with a parade and festivities at the Denton Quakertown Park, located at 321 E. McKinney. 6,000 people attended in 2013. There’s games, a variety of food (the festival only allows allow three vendors to sell the same food item), traditional cultural music, dance, crafts, and a soccer tournament.
Houston has several celebratons going on throughout the metro area. Syd Kearney at the Houston Chronicle lists numerous restaurants and bars celebrating Cinco from Saturday to Tuesdays with food and music deals, including Doc’s Motorworks, El Cantina Superior, and Cinco de Midtown at Celtic Gardens, Pub Fiction and 3rd Bar.
Friday May 1 to Sunday, May 3: Head over to 2200 North MacGregor Way for the Houston’s three day Cinco de Mayo party. Plenty of food, music, and rides. General admission tickets are $20.00.
Saturday, May 2: The 23rd Annual LULAC Cinco de Mayo Parade steps off in downtown Houston (at Texas at Hamilton) with over 100 colorful entries.
Sunday, May 3rd: Traders Village presents its 10th Annual Cinco De Mayo festival. Enjoy community service exhibits, games, live music, and activities for the kids, fresh fajitas and turkey legs on the grill, margaritas y cerveza, and more. Located on 7979 N. Eldridge Rd., Houston, not far from US 290 and the Beltway.
Tuesday, May 5: Out in the north Houston suburbs, there’s Cinco de Mayo at the Woodlands Children’s Museum, ideal for children 7 years of age and younger, there’s lot to do and see.
Saturday, May 2: San Antonio’s first ever TejasFest will feature Tejano music, cowboy culture, folkloric dancing, and great German and Mexican food — all free and all in the heart of downtown. the celebration runs from 10AM to 6PM and is followed by a special benefit concert from 7 PM to 10 PM by The Brave Combo. Tickets are $12.00.
Saturday, May 2: Los Patios is also putting on it’s own free celebration from 10 AM to 4 PM. Los Patios is a park-like setting along the Salado Creek. They’ll have juried artists, artisans, jewelry designers, and antiques dealers on the beautiful wooded grounds plus Mexican food,beverages, and entertainment for the children. Music by the Jefferson High School Mariachis.
Friday, May 1: The City of Waco’s Brazos Nights contiunes its Cinco de Mayo concerts this year with bands Los Hijos de San Juan and Conjunto Invicto. Om-nom-nom at some of Waco’s best Taco Trucks and enjoy Cinco de Mayo-inspired beverages. Begins at 7pm at Indian Springs Park. Admission is free.
So…How Did the French Get into Mexico?
On July 17, 1861, Mexican President Benito Juárez suspended the Republic of Mexico’s interest payments to foreign countries. The three biggest creditors were Britain, Spain, and the Empire of France. France was led by Emperor Napoleon III. That fall, these three governments signed the Treaty of London to unite their efforts to receive payments from Mexico even if that meant miliary action. On December 8, the Spanish fleet landed troops at Mexico’s main port, Veracruz. But, it soon became evident that Emperor Napoleon III wanted Mexico for its silver reserves and as a puppet state. Both Britain and Spain withdrew from the coalition, pulling out their troops on April 24, 1862. The Mexican Army defeated the invading French Army at Puebla on May 5, 1862 (Cinco de Mayo).
The Mexican victory was short-lived. By June 7, 1863 thirty thousand troops defeated the Republic of Mexico’s Army and captured Mexico City. Emperor Napoleon III’s puppet, Emperor Maximilian I, accepted the Impmerial Crown of Mexico on April 10, 1864. Maximilian was an archduke from the Hapsburg family, the Royal House of Austria. The war against the French would rage for two years. In 1865, the US began supplying Republic of Mexico’s forces and threatening to kick the French out by force of arms. Napoleon III reassessed his imperial ambitions. In 1866, he announced the withdrawal of French forces beginning May 31.
In May of 1867, Mexico City fell the Republic of Mexico’s forces and Maximillian was captured. Maximillian was executed by firing squad on June 19. His body was later shipped to Vienna where it lies in the Habsburg Imperial vault.