Views #1052 | Intermediate (B2)

Cinco De Mayo

Diego talks about a Mexican holiday that is very famous abroad but not at home in Mexico.

Silvia: So talking about Mexican celebrations, is Independence Day and Cinco De Mayo the same thing?

Diego: No, no, no. They're very different. Actually, Independence Day is celebrated the 15th and 16th of September and Cinco De Mayo is celebrated the fifth of May.

Silvia: And why do people always confuse Cinco De Mayo with Independence Day?

Diego: That is a very good question and I don't really have an answer for it, but a lot of my friends who are from different countries, especially Europe and the United States. Every time it's like the 5th of May, they want to celebrate with me as if it were a very, very Mexican holiday, and it's a bit surprising because we don't think it's that important in Mexico.

Silvia: So why do you think it got so famous?

Diego: I don't know. Maybe it has a catchy name or something, but the holiday of Cinco de Mayo is basically when the Mexican Army won against the French Army, and it was a very unlikely battle, and it all started because of a French bakery getting burned and we called it like the battle of the cakes.

Silvia: That's a funny name.

Diego: Yeah, it's a funny name. It's a bit ironic because it all started out of this little bakery getting burned and then the French declared war with Mexico and then we won so I guess that's why.

Silvia: What do they do for that day? In the States I think they celebrate it right?

Diego: I think they celebrate it and as you know there's a large community of like Mexican Americans, so they do celebrate and they probably get together, eat and maybe drink a little.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson



People confuse Cinco De Mayo with Independence Day.

We confuse something with another thing when we mix them in our mind. Notice the samples.

  1. On TV, I sometimes confuse Arsenal with Man U. They both wear red uniforms.
  2. In written English, many people confuse ‘effect’ with ‘affect’.

as if


People want to celebrate as if it was a Mexican holiday.

We use the phrase 'as if ' to show what something or someone is like. Here are two sample sentences.

  1. It looks as if it’s going to rain.
  2. you sound as if you are not happy with your new job.

catchy name


It has a catchy name.

Something that’s catchy is easy to remember. Notice the following.

  1. Blackberry is a great phone with a catchy name.
  2. I’m not an Oasis fan, but their songs sure are catchy.



It was a very unlikely battle.

‘Unlikely’ talks about something we don’t think or expect to happen. Here are two examples using unlikely’:

  1. It’s unlikely Team USA will win the World Cup anytime soon.
  2. I didn’t study last night, so it’s unlikely I’ll pass the test today.

declare war


The French declared war after the bakery was burned down.

In this example, ‘declare war’ means for a government to publicly and officially announce plans to go to war. See the samples below.

  1. After the country was attacked, it declared war the next day.
  2. In the United States, the president does not have the power to declare war. He or she must seek the approval of congress.

Vocabulary Quiz

confuse • as if • catchy
unlikely • declare
  1. He walked past me he did not know me.
  2. It is that it will rain.
  3. You need a URL when starting a website.
  4. The countries are threatening to war.
  5. People often me with my brother.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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