05/05/2011 09:49 am ET Updated Jul 05, 2011

What Is Cinco De Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is more than just another excuse to party.

The holiday, which is celebrated more abroad than actually in Mexico, commemorates the Battle of Puebla which took place on May 5, 1862.

The underdog victory for Mexico pushed French forces out of the state of Puebla against seemingly insurmountable odds. Next year the 150th anniversary of the battle will be celebrated.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That holiday, which is more widely honored in Mexico, is actually celebrated on September 16.

So how did the day become so popular in the U.S.?

Aside from marketing and other commercial reasons for furthering the holiday, many view the day as a way to further the cultural significance of the holiday, according to MTV. However, it's key to acknowledge that liqour companies and Mexican restaurants have had a lot to do with bolstering the holiday, using it as an excuse to go a little crazy.

In any case, take the day to sit back, relax, and crack open a Corona (or Modelo) and honor the underdog victory.