A lot of people confuse Cinco de Mayo for Mexico’s independence day, but it’s not. Mexico’s independence day is on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration of Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It was a small victory as the French reclaimed Puebla a year later, but a symbolic one because a small Mexican army defeated a larger occupying force. By 1867, Mexican troops had driven France from the country.
The reason for the confusion is this minor holiday in Mexico has evolved into a big day to celebrate all things Mexican, and Mexican-American, in U.S. And today, it just so happens that Cinco de Mayo is also Taco Tuesday!