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Posted at 05:39 PM ET, 05/03/2012

Cinco de Mayo: How much do you really know about Mexico?


Maru Montero performs for a group of mesmerized toddlers and parents at the library. Maru Montero Dance Company will perform at the Cinco de Mayo celebration on the Mall. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
Americans enjoy celebrating Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo. It allows them to wear sombreros, drink bad tequila and eat nachos with yellow cheese, which few Mexicans actually do  Mariachi musicians and rodeo riders are pretty much the only Mexicans who don a sombrero these days.

Still, Cinco de Mayo is one of the fastest growing holidays in the United States. For many Mexican Americans, it is a day of cultural pride.

Most are a bit hazy on the details.

It is not Mexico’s Fourth of July. Independence Day in Mexico is Sept. 16, which actually begins on Sept. 15, when the president stands at a balcony at the National Palace, rings a bell, waves a flag and everyone shouts “Viva Mexico!” at the top of their lungs.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates May 5, 1862, when Mexican forces led by the brave young general Ignacio Zaragoza won a decisive victory over superior numbers of French forces at the Battle of Puebla. Today Mexicans don’t really celebrate the date much, except to watch a reenactment of the battle on television.

Try your hand at these questions about the oft-misunderstood holiday and other Mexico-related trivia.

William Booth is the Mexico Bureau Chief for the Post.

More on Cinco de Mayo:

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a more sober affair

Recipes for a Cinco de Mayo inspired feast

Going Out Guide’s list of Cinco de Mayo parties

By  |  05:39 PM ET, 05/03/2012

Tags:  Mexico

 
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