The summer shower of fiery festivities is approaching, but Texans are blessed with advanced access to our favorite aerial entertainment thanks to Cinco de Mayo. But before we start lighting up the night with brilliant blues, greens and sparkles, what exactly are we celebrating, and why do we get to celebrate it?
Over 150 years ago, the new nation of Mexico faced external, existential threats. Following independence in 1821, after a decade of conflict, Mexico became embroiled in the Mexican-American War and the Reform War, a civil conflict between conservatives and liberals of the time. With back-to-back conflicts, the nation found itself deeply indebted to the reigning European powers, Britain, Spain and France. With the country’s treasury nearly bankrupt, then-Mexican President Benito Juárez declared a suspension of all foreign debt payments for two years to stabilize the country.
Naturally, this decision enflamed the European powers who sought to take action against the Mexican government and forcibly recover their debts. Britain and Spain negotiated and reached an agreement with the Mexican government, but France, under the rule of Napoleon III, opted to employ the opportunity to establish an empire in Mexico that favored French interests.
In 1861, well-trained and equipped French forces landed and seized Veracruz, driving the president and his government to retreat. Following their quick victory, the French advanced on Mexico City but came upon fierce resistance from the smaller and poorly equipped Mexican national army. In an awe-inspiring moment, the inferior Mexican armed forces led a decisive victory against the French, considered the premier army of the world at the time.
Following their incredible victory at the Battle of Puebla, the date was designated to commemorate a landmark victory that likely shaped the destinies of the Americas. Indeed, historian Justo Sierra posited that had the French been victorious they likely would have aided the Confederacy in the American Civil War and ultimately altered U.S. history, as we know it.
Today in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has a grand significance as it has come to be associated with celebration of Mexican-American culture. In Mexico, it is commemorated largely through military parades. Due to Texas’ shared history with Mexico and the heavy influence of Mexican culture, Texans can start celebrating early with access to fireworks before the summer celebrations starting with Cinco de Mayo.
Texans have a shortened firework-selling season during this time. Although it should be noted that it’s not statewide! Fireworks may be sold at locations “not more than 100 miles from the Texas-Mexico border” and only in counties where commissioners have approved the sale of fireworks during the period.
If you’re eager to start the season early, plan a road trip to the southern border and stock up with the best selection from Alamo Fireworks. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style with the beautiful, fiery festivities.