Published on May 1st, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut
Puebla: Travel Photos from the “Real” Cinco de Mayo in Mexico
Cinco de Mayo has become a rather high-profile event in the United States — a catch-all day to celebrate Mexican culture and Mexican traditions (and, given the way alcohol companies have embraced the date for promotional purposes, it’s also an opportunity to take advantage of drink specials). But the true origins of Cinco de Mayo— as well as how it’s celebrated in Mexico — might surprise some people outside of the Mexican Republic.
Cinco de Mayo is not, as some might guess, Mexico’s independence day. It’s actually not even that big an occasion in most of Mexico — except in the state of Puebla. That’s because Cinco de Mayo — the Fifth of May — is actually a commemoration of Mexico’s impressive victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, which took place in that city under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. It was a decisive moment in the history of Mexico, and today is one of the nation’s proudest Mexican festivals.
The city of Puebla is still the best place to celebrate the “real” Cinco de Mayo (there, it’s also called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla). The day is marked by a huge parade with hundreds of soldiers, nurses and other military people (after all, they’re commemorating a military victory), as well as grade school and university students and floats that depict important parts of Mexican history and culture.
During a trip to Puebla on assignment, I witnessed this impressive display of pride and power, and I took dozens of photographs of the well-choreographed participants. The visuals struck me so much that I’ve put together a collection of photos of the Cinco de Mayo parade. I’ve made high-quality, limited-edition gallery-wrap photos of some of them (contact me if you’re interested in purchasing or exhibiting the work), and a small group of the photos is now on exhibit in New York City during the month of May.
I’ve also put together a program book that features a wider variety of these images — Puebla: The Real Cinco de Mayo is available in print format and also as an eBook (for iPad and iPhone) for just $2.99. (It’s also available in the iTunes Store; search for “Mark Chesnut” to find it there.)
In addition, you can order some of my most popular travel photos from Cinco de Mayo — including “Nurses on Parade”, “Street Vendor in Puebla, Mexico” and “Mexican Marchers on Cinco de Mayo“ — in affordable collector’s prints and formats that include cell phone cases, greeting cards and postcards, in the Mundera Shop on Zazzle.com.
If you ever have the chance to visit Puebla during this major event, don’t forget to bring your camera. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
See other gifts available on Zazzle.