Watch: Mexico City neighbourhood re-enacts victory over French for Cinco de Mayo

Spectators lined the streets to watch the re-enactment
Spectators lined the streets to watch the re-enactment Copyright Reuters
By Lindsey Johnstone with Reuters
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Cinco de Mayo has evolved over the decades and today stands as a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism.


Mexico celebrated Cinco de Mayo on Sunday, marking the victory under General Ignacio Zaragoza over Napoleon Bonaparte's French army at the Battle of Puebla on 5 May, 1862.

In the Peñón de los Baños neighbourhood of Mexico City, families lined the streets to watch locals dressed as Mexican and French troops on the march in a re-enactment. Real guns are used, as well as model canons, to dramatise the battle.

Jose Suarez was playing a French soldier in the day's proceedings. He said: "I'm a French soldier. I usually belong to the other side... because my grandfather, Nazario Cedillos, used to [play this role] too. If your relatives played those roles, then you should too because of the tradition."

The women of the neighbourhood participate by cooking for "soldiers" and spectators alike. Soledad Cedillo said she expected to feed around 120 people.

"We make a taco for those who come because that's what we were taught to do by my mother, to offer a taco for everyone and all of our relatives. So we have that tradition and, as my sister-in-law says, while God gives us life, we will be doing it."

Cinco de Mayo has evolved over the decades and today stands as a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism, celebrated with parades, food, music, traditional dance and re-enactments by Mexican communities around the world – notably in Canada and Australia, but nowhere as enthusiastically as in the United States, where the celebrations are bigger than they are in Mexico.

The day was first marked in the US in Southern California in 1863 as a show of solidarity with its neighbours. Although many Americans mistakenly believe they are commemorating Mexican independence, Mexico's Independence Day is actually celebrated on 16 September, marking the beginning of its 1810-1821 war with Spain.

Video editor • Nicolas Coquet

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