Traditional sombreros for Cinco de Mayo

Notice any sombreros on your morning commute? It’s Cinco de Mayo, the festive Mexican holiday that’s become a far bigger celebration here in the U.S. than in its home country. But how many of today’s revelers truly know what they’re celebrating, and why?

Be the smartest person at tonight’s happy hour with these quick facts:

• Many people think Cinco de Mayo – Spanish for the fifth of May – commemorates Mexican Independence Day, but that’s not true (in fact, that’s not until September).

• In reality, this holiday pays tribute to the 1862 Battle of Puebla that Mexico fought and won against France.

• Rising in popularity in the U.S. in the 1960s thanks to Mexican-American activists, the day has become a celebration of Mexican pride.

• Festivals will happen today all over the country, but the official place to party in the U.S. is Goliad, Texas, the birthplace of Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza, the general who led Mexican troops to victory.

• Cinco de Mayo is considered one of the top 10 drinking holidays in the U.S. (behind New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, and Thanksgiving Eve).

Will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo? Tell us about your plans in the comments below.

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