We celebrate Cinco de Mayo but do you really know what this Mexican holiday stands for? Here is a brief history, traditions and activities that take place this day.
Some people think Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence day but these are two completely different holidays. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the anniversary of Mexico's victory over the French army at what is called “La Batalla de Puebla” or the battle of Puebla. On September 16, 1862, President Benito Juarez made this day an annual holiday in Mexico.
Most celebrations take place in Puebla. It is tradition to have speeches, parades and reenactments of the battle with people dressed in Mexican and French soldier uniforms. This is all done for visitors/tourist and residents to attend. Everyone wears patriotic clothing and accessories in green, white and red. Traditional Mexican food is served such as tamales, mole, salsa and tortilla chips, tacos, arroz (rice) and guacamole. What makes this celebration extra fun is the Mariachi music and folk dances, definitely bringing life to the party! Not in Mexico? No problem. Here are a few tips on hosting a Cinco De Mayo party of your own.
In the United States this is more of a day to celebrate the Mexican culture. Cinco de Mayo is surprisingly celebrated more around the U.S. than in Mexico. This day gives people in the US a chance to celebrate like Mexicans do! Are you planning to have a Cinco de Mayo party this year? Here are a few ideas for a fun Cinco de Mayo fiesta!
Cinco De Mayo Decorations
Use a very colorful scheme when decorating. Colors such as yellow, blue, purple, orange and green, white and red are perfect for this occasion. This is a very happy culture so pretty much any bright color will look great!
Often crepe or tissue paper is used to make decorative pieces to hang on walls or ceilings. These are known in Mexico as “papel picado”. If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive way to add character to the fiesta, this is it! Not only inexpensive, but very easy to make! All you need is patience and a little imagination.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Crepe or Tissue Paper (variety of bright colors)
- String or tape to hang
Step 1: Cut the paper to about “letter” size (8×10)
Step 2: (This step is optional) Draw or print template of design on a blank piece of paper.
Step 3: Select a variety of colors and stack them. You’ll be able to make more banners at a time.
Step 4: Place template (if available) on top of crepe or tissue papers.
Step 5: Fold papers down the middle. Make sure the template is in front of all papers. This is the first thing you want to see when papers are folded.
Step 5: Start cutting!
Step 6: Unfold the papers and…voila! You’re done.
This is a great activity to do with family and friends!
Spice It Up with Your Food
The traditional foods to eat on Cinco de Mayo are tamales, tacos and mole. Tamales and mole are not easy to make so make a taco bar so everyone can make their perfect taco.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Flour and corn tortillas
- Fillings (beef, meat, chicken, turkey, etc…)
- Variety of Salsas
- Taco shells
- Salad (lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños, cheese, onions, etc.)
You can have as many ingredients as you like. The options are limitless.
What’s a party without music? Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some Mariachi.
Mariachi is the most traditional type of Mexican music! Singers like Vicente Fernandez and Alejandro Fernandez are most known for singing with Mariachi. Maybe even search for a local Mexican band in your area.
A Cinco de Mayo fiesta is all about enjoying the Mexican culture. Gather with your family and friends and enjoy a delicious Mexican fiesta.