Atlantic Station's Derby de Mayo Party offers best of both worlds

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Often mistakenly associated with Mexican Independence Day, the holiday commemorates the date of the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.

Surprisingly, Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday in Mexico.

The Cinco de Mayo "Celebrate Culture Festival" at Civic Center Park along with the Denver Kentucky Derby party at the Colorado Convention Center ... and great weather will bring big crowds to downtown.

"The reason it became more popular (in the US during that time) was in part because of the Good Neighbor policy", Jose Alamillo, a professor of ethnic studies at Washington State University in Pullman, told National Geographic, referring to the USA government's effort to reach out to neighboring countries. Though far outnumbered, Mexicans led by General Ignacio Zaragoza fortified the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles and forced the French to retreat after losing close to 500 soldiers, according to History.com.

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In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo celebrations were first held in California in the 1860s, marked among the hundreds of Mexican miners who had crossed the border to work in the west.

Jayme Sanders, owner of Mint Studio located at 5965 Village Way in Pacific Highlands Ranch, suggests upgrading your Cinco de Mayo fiesta with easy DIY décor.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's independence day from Spain, which occurred in 1810 and is celebrated on September 16. In Mexico, the commemoration of the battle continues to be mostly ceremonial, such as through military parades. The celebration spread as Hispanic culture grew in the USA, getting a commercial boost in the 1980s when restaurants and bars began cashing in on the event. Whether people know that history or not (you should, it's fascinating), here in the United States the holiday is widely seen as a welcome chance to savor Mexican cuisine paired with tequila, mezcal, and Mexican beers.

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