In the state of Puebla, the day is celebrated with parades, addresses, and recitals of the war of 1862, though in most of the world not so much is noted. The Cinco de Mayo celebrations by Mexican immigrants became a way of promoting pride in their Mexican roots in the mid 20th century of the United States.

Critics noted that there was little excitement for the holiday season until it became directly related to the promotion of Mexican beer, and many US festivity events appeared to uphold both derogatory Mexican myths and encourage binge drinking.

We're several days away from Cinco de Mayo! Americans will drink margaritas and eat chips and salsa everywhere. But what does this American-Mexican holiday stand for, and what are people celebrating exactly? Let's find out!

Cinco de Mayo celebrations from earlier years. (Getty)

What is Cinco de Mayo a celebration of?

Annual festivity will be celebrated on 5 May in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for "Fifth of May." On the 5th of May of 1862, General Ignacio Zaragoza was in commemoration of the triumph of the Mexican Army over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. Mexicans were encouraged by the triumph of smaller Mexican forces over a greater French army.

After months of fighting, Zaragoza died of sickness. In the second battle of Puebla, one year after the battle, a stronger French force routed the Mexican army, and the invaders quickly came across the city of Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo is essential in Mexico, as well as in the US. The date has grown closer to celebrations of Mexico's Mexico-American community in the United States. These festivities have been celebrated in California since 1863. Due particularly to promotional campaigns by beer and wine firms, the day became nationally more famous in the 1980s. Today, Cinco de Mayo produces Super Bowl-like sales of beer. 

In Mexico, it is only symbolic that the battle is commemorated, such as military parades or battle reenactments. The Mexican Independence Day, the most important national holiday in Mexico—which takes place on September 16th, is sometimes confused by Cinco de Mayo.