54. The Cinco de Mayo Celebration

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The Cinco de Mayo, or Fifth of May, is a holiday celebrated by Mexicans in the United States. Before 1776, much of the southern and western states, such as Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and California were part of Mexico. Following the war between the U.S. and Mexico in the 1800s, these states became part of the United States, but there still remained a very large Mexican population.

The Latino population is the largest, single ethnic group in the country. It accounts for 17 percent of the nation's population, and 63 percent of those Latinos are of Mexican origins. The Cinco de Mayo is a large celebration in the country's southwest region. It celebrates the Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla, against France on May 5, 1862. Curiously, the day is celebrated more in the United States than it is in Mexico itself.

In Los Angeles, the city celebrates the event with the Fiesta Broadway, which is the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world. More than half a million people come to downtown L.A. to participate in the street fair that covers 24 square blocks. The celebration takes place on the last Sunday of April. There are rides, games, and especially food at this celebration and it is growing every year. Los Angeles is not the only Southland city to host Cinco de Mayo celebrations. The cities of Corona, West Los Angeles, and Commerce also have events, and the famous Olvera Street celebration in downtown L.A. is also very popular.

One of the most unique Cinco de Mayo events takes place in the Hancock Park district of Los Angeles. It is called the Single de Mayo. This celebration is an annual charity event that began in 1999. It is a private party that benefits the homeless by providing shelter and support. Cinco de Mayo is a truly American celebration.

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