PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An unofficial celebration commemorating a Mexican military victory in 1862, better known to many as Cinco de Mayo, was celebrated in Philadelphia on Friday.
Though the Battle of Puebla is not widely observed in Mexico, outside of Puebla itself, the celebration has become widely popular in the U.S. as a chance to celebrate Mexican-American culture.
"I'm here with my uncle. We decided to pull over to the side and have some tacos, honor Cinco de Mayo, and enjoy the fresh air," said Kelly Ardama from the Bronx, New York City.
Some people at Lucha Cartel in the Old City section of Philadelphia got an early start to Cinco de Mayo by enjoying tacos and margaritas.
"We are packed all day, we are going to be on a wait. We have a ton of margaritas and tacos, we have some special menu food options also," said Jon Schulze, the front house manager at Lucha Cartel.
Schulze says they've been booked weeks out for Friday.
"Today is definitely going to be our busiest day of the year. It actually eclipses our New Year's Eve party," said Schulze.
Another spot where people were celebrating was Rittenhouse Square.
Revolution Taco was handing out free chips and salsa to the community.
According to the latest Census Bureau survey data, there are about 30,000 Philadelphians of Mexican descent.
Philadelphians of Mexican descent make up about 2% of the city population and about 12% of Hispanic or Latino Philadelphians.
While some may confuse the day with Mexican Independence Day, the date is still significant.
"In 1862, in the battle with France, the Mexican army defeated the Second French Empire. And as a result, May the Fifth has become very symbolic," said Araceli Guenther, president of the Mexican Cultural Center.
Guenther says she encourages people to go out with a drink and celebrate.
"What's wonderful about Cinco de Mayo is it's become a tradition that carries forth you know our heritage, our cuisine, our music, and people just love to get together. Cinco de Mayo is highly celebrated, people are waiting for happy hour," she said.