It’s Cinco de Mayo and we’re celebrating. Here’s why.

On the Border margarita courtesy photo

It’s Cinco de Mayo and there are plenty of choices to celebrate … celebrate what, exactly?

To judge by recent Google searches, a lot of people don’t know what they are celebrating when they lift a cold margarita to their lips on May 5.

The top two Google searches about Cinco de Mayo relate to questions about what we are celebrating. So here’s the scoop. And there’s a Texas connection. Contrary to what many say, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It actually commemorates a single battle. In 1861, Benito Juárez – a lawyer and member of the Indigenous Zapotec tribe – was elected president of Mexico.

Mexico was at the time in dire financial straits to several European governments, so what did France, Britain and Spain do? They sent naval forces to Mexico demanding payment. And you thought those phone calls were annoying? France decided to do more than demand payment. Napoleon III decided to send a French fleet to take some territory. Soon after, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a ragtag force of 2,000 men and sent them to Puebla.

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The vastly outnumbered and ill-equipped Mexicans were led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, who had been born near Goliad, Texas, when it was controlled by Mexico. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez gathered his army – supported by heavy artillery – before the city of Puebla and led an assault.

The all-day battle saw the French lose 500 men, while Zaragoza’s troops lost about 100 men.

Zaragoza’s success at the Battle of Puebla on May 5 represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government. In 1867, thanks in part to military support and political pressure from the United States, France withdrew.

Zaragoza’s famous quotation from the battle was: Las armas nacionales se han cubierto de gloria (“The national arms have been covered with glory”). It’s not quite Remember the Alamo, but it’s not bad.

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Zaragoza, sadly, didn’t live to receive all that glory. He contracted typhoid shortly after the battle and died at 33.

So, when you lift that salted glass to your lips today, say: “The national arms have been covered with glory” and see who sends you a free drink.

While Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage and a chance to drink a margarita at a cheap price.

Looking for something to do?

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Check out Latin Express at Tulips at 112 St. Louis Ave. in Fort Worth.

And there are plenty of specials at most restaurants in the area.

On the Border

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, on Wednesday, May 5, On The Border is offering its Grande House ‘Rita for just $5. For $1.50 more, guests can upgrade to a fruit-flavored margarita and for $1 more, they can add a Gold Tequila Meltdown.

*Available for dine-in customers only.

For even more festivities on Cinco de Mayo, On The Border will offer a limited number of Grand Marnier commemorative Sidecars on a first come, first serve basis (each restaurant will have limited quantities). A guest will receive this exclusive Sidecar when they order a Grand Marnier meltdown, and they can take it home with them.

*Sidecar price varies by location.

The Ranch at Las Colinas

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, The Ranch at Las Colinas will be serving Mexican beer and tequila shot combos all day on Wednesday, May 5! Guests can choose from The Ranch’s three levels of combinations, featuring Dos Equis or Modelo and Casamigos Tequila:

  • Combinación Blanco – $22
  • Combinación Reposado – $25
  • Combinación Anejo – $30

Twin Peaks

From May 3-8, the ultimate sports lodge is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a promo paper featuring sweet deals on Twin Peaks’ favorite tequilas, cervezas and more. Shots will start at $3.99, cocktails and drafts will start at $5, and guests can enhance their drinking experience with top-shelf cocktails starting at $9.

*Offer valid at participating locations.

If you’re hanging around the casa, Tostitos has teamed up with tough-guy actor Danny Trejo to launch, a one-stop hub complete with everything needed to create a memorable celebration. To help take Cinco up a notch, Tostitos has introduced a limited-edition chip: Tostitos Sweet Lime and Sea Salt. This margarita-inspired flavor, available in Tostitos’ bite-size rounds, brings a tangy twist to your Cinco spread.

As part of the campaign, Trejo is also featured in an online commercial for Tostitos [here], where he shows his Hollywood take on Five Ways to Cinco. We see Trejo pitching some of his most extreme scenes to date — all concluding with Tostitos chips and dips.

Meanwhile, 7-Eleven is also offering a take on Cinco de Mayo. The Irving-based convenience retailer is celebrating the holiday with a Slurpee drink toast and free mini tacos. Customers can purchase a small Slurpee drink for just $1. The $1 gets you a small Slurpee drink and four mini-tacos.

The two featured springtime Slurpee flavors are Peach Perfect, made with 5.5% real juice, and Mountain Dew Major Melon. Each mini taco is a bite-sized, crispy corn tortilla shell filled with seasoned, shredded beef. And because Cinco de Mayo beer sales rival even those of that “big game” in February (you know the one), favorite Mexican brews such as Modelo and Corona 12 packs will be discounted $2 in-store through 7Rewards until May 10 when customers purchase 8 mini tacos in participating stores.