Cinco de Mayo: The new St. Patrick's Day - FOX 35 News Orlando

Cinco de Mayo: The new St. Patrick's Day

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Cinco de Mayo is a great day to celebrate, but many don’t really know why they’re celebrating.

It’s a holiday that isn’t really celebrated in Mexico. It commemorates Mexico’s defeat of the French in the Battle of Puebla.

For the owner of Cesar’s restaurant in Lakeview, this day serves as a reminder of his Mexican roots.

"It's really important, especially for my kids to understand the culture of where we come from," said Israel Sanchez.

There are many Mexican families in Chicago, the city has the fourth largest Mexican population in the country.

“It's the best kept secret. Everybody thinks that most of the Mexican population is in the southwest," said artist Robert Valadez.

Much of Pilsen native Valadez’s work stems from his culture. He now sees that same passion in the youth in the community.

"Businesses like this and there's other examples throughout the neighborhood of young Latino entrepreneurs that are coming back to their parent's communities and staying and building something here for the future," Valadez said.

Pew Research shows that Latinos are the nation’s largest minority and one of the fastest growing.

Since 1970, the U.S. Census shows that the population has increased from 9.1 million to 53 million in 2012. The latest projections estimate there will be 129 million Latinos by 2060.

The National Museum of Mexican Art’s CEO and President, Carlos Tortolero isn’t surprised by the projections.

"What people forget is how much our culture impacts the United States now. Most Americans cannot eat during the week without eating something that's from our culture," said Tortolero.

That culture can be found in those celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Those celebrations are not only popular in the U.S., there are annual celebrations held in Canada, Australian and even London.

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