Great explanation of Cinco de Mayo:Cinco de Mayo History
Also mentions that the U.S, government, otherwise tangled up in the Civil War, managed to covertly supply Juarez with arms and soldiers. I especially liked how the author points out that Mexicans have also come north of the border to join cause against our enemies. Que viva!
When I was a kid and lived in Laredo, I remember that holidays on the other side of the border had more zest and color. Day of the Dead beat Halloween, and the Mexican children wore their costumes on other holidays. I recall Columbus Day and Independence Day celbrations in Nuevo Laredo, but quite frankly I don't remember that there was such a big deal about Cinco de Mayo. I think the holiday has less to do with beating the French (no big bragging rights there), than a rallying point for the Hispanic community in the U.S, southwest. It's a Mexican St. Patrick's Day, and, let's face it, Americans love drinking holidays.
Let us all salute and toast our Mexican amigos on Cinco de Mayo!