In just a few short weeks, one of the most celebrated drinking holidays will be upon us. St. Patrick’s Day has passed, New Year’s Eve is still most of a year away, but Cinco de Mayo, everyone’s favorite mid-year Mexican holiday, will soon take center stage. Even better, for 2012, the event will take place on a Saturday, allowing for an even crazier version of its normal appearance.

In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate Mexican culture and pride – which, let’s face it, means margaritas and sombreros to most. The date is also significant in that it honors “the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War.” Meaning, while we’re remembering culture, we’re also honoring our past.

However, in Mexico and the state of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo takes place to celebrate the Mexican army’s victory over the French. Although the odds were against them, was able to overtake the French at the Battle of Puebla, on, you guessed it, May 5, 1862. This feat is even more impressive considering France’s army of 8,000 (vs. Mexico’s 4,000 men) had not been defeated for the past 50 years. This was also the last battle where a country in North or South America was invaded by a European military force.

But no matter the reason behind the celebration of Cinco de Mayo, it is safe to say that people of all cultures will be taking part in this annual day of drinking. While Mexico is remembering their freedom and reflecting the hardships that once plagued their country, here in the U.S., we’ll be listening to a mariachi band and sipping on-sale tequila. Either way, Cinco de Mayo can be seen as a way to celebrate Mexico’s colorful past.

Photo courtesy of pasukaru76.