Many people will celebrate today with margaritas and burritos (at home, of course). 

A common misconception is that today is Mexican independence day; Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates something completely different. 

Independence Day in Mexico (Día de la Independencia) is celebrated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that led to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

The fifth of May is the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. In Mexico, today is also known as Battle of Puebla Day.

It’s a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, but in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage.

Mexican-American activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla.

Now that you know why you’re celebrating, go ahead and enjoy some of the fruits of traditional Mexican culture; we recommend some traditional Mexican folk dancing, and maybe a Stay-At-Homa-Paloma…or two. 

And of course, some green gold.