What Cinco De Mayo Looked Like in L.A. in 1925-1954
Cinco de Mayo is a uniquely Mexican and American holiday that has in recent history been co-opted into a tequila-slamming, sombrero-wearing excuse to indulge in "el drinko" partying and eating.
The holiday commemorates just one event: The Day of the Battle of Puebla, which was a day of victory for the Mexican army against the French in 1862. 150 years later, many still mistake the day for Mexican Independence Day (September 16, actually), and many more aren't quite sure what to make of it, except for the aforementioned expectation of spending the day eating tacos and drinking margaritas.
In Los Angeles, which was, of course, once upon a time part of Mexico, the holiday was once a day of civic pageantry. We combed the Los Angeles Public Library's archives and found some images from celebrations from days of yore, when dancers, musicians, political figures, and every day Angelenos gathered in the community to pay tribute to the area's rich Mexican heritage.