Meaning of Cinco

The beers were cold and the sombreros were a plenty, as hundreds crowded into the Chronic Cantina at Costa Mesa’s Triangle Square Tuesday to celebrate the latest reason to drink on a weekday afternoon.

By 5 p.m. the line outside the taco hot spot on the second level of Triangle Square was beginning to grow. Servers were rushing around with trays of Mexican beers like Corona, Dos Equis and Pacifico, the beverage of the day for everyone celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

The national Mexican holiday, commemorating a victory over French forces in 1862, was on the minds of virtually no one inside the Cantina on Tuesday. Everyone was there to drink and spend time with Kevin and Bean, beloved morning and afternoon deejays on KROQ.

“Cinco de Mayo is just another excuse for us to get together and party hearty,” said an enthusiastic Cindy Salceda, who drove to the cantina from Downey to celebrate with friends.

“To me, it means alcohol and women,” said Nick McCartney, 24, from Costa Mesa. His bartender chimed in that to her, Cinco de Mayo means drinking all day.

Eric Navarro, 26, from Huntington Beach, was one of a few there who said he traditionally celebrates his Mexican heritage on Cinco de Mayo with friends and family, but given the time and day, none were available to celebrate with him.

Joseph Serna


  Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862, when Mexicans repelled an attack on the town by the French.

 Puebla was a key battleground in the French campaign to overthrow the Mexican capital.

General Ignacio Zaragoza and his lesser-equipped men killed more than 1,000 French and forced the army of Napoleon III to retreat. The victory symbolizes Mexico’s determination to thwart foreign aggression.

 French forces came back less than a year later with 30,000 reinforcements and overtook Puebla. Mexican forces did not end the French occupation for another five years.

 France, Spain and England all invaded Mexico in 1861 or 1862 after Mexico put a moratorium on repaying foreign debts. By April 1862, only French troops remained in the country.

 Mexico’s Independence Day is Sept. 16.

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