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What Is Cinco De Mayo?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The holiday Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken as "Mexican Independence Day," but that actual date is September 16.

Cinco de Mayo -- the 5th of May -- really marks the Mexican Army's 1862 victory over Emperor Napoleon III's French force at the Battle of Puebla. France had invaded Mexico due to suspension of foreign debt payments following years of both war with America to the north and civil war within the country itself.

Napoleon III's army eventually came back and got a "Latin empire" in Mexico, until three years later when the United States helped the Mexican people fight back and send the French back to Europe.

Today, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican-American culture - and in the U.S., another welcome reason to eat, dance and party.

Looking to mark the day here in New York City? Check out The 5 Best Cinco De Mayo Rooftop Fiestas In NYC and Best Ways To Celebrate Cinco De Mayo In New York.

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