Cinco de Mayo is celebrated annually on 5th May to commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It also known as the Battle of Puebla day. Following the Reform War, Mexico had insufficient funds to repay Mexican debts to foreign governments. Mexico was then invaded by the United Kingdom, Spain and France. The United Kingdom and Spain signed treaties with Mexico and returned home where the French emperor Napoleon III did not withdraw and was defeated by the Mexican army.
Winning this war was a huge morale boost for the Mexican people and four days later, President Juarez said that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday. Cinco de Mayo is not an official national holiday in Mexico despite this but is celebrated more actively in parts of the U.S. than Mexico.
This day is marked with good food, mariachi music and parades all over the country. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.
How Can You Celebrate?
Cinco de Mayo started as a way to celebrate Mexican heritage and appreciating Latin culture. This is why it is important to be respectful whilst celebrating and take the time to learn about Mexican culture.
- Dress Up – The colours of the Mexican flag are green, white and red so you can think about incorporating these into your outfit. Traditional Mexican clothes include a sombrero or a huipil which is a sleeveless tunic that is usually worn with a long skirt. Alternatively, you can wear clothes that are designed by Mexican designers to support their businesses.
- Music – Celebrate with traditional Mexican style music. You can find playlists on Spotify if you search Cinco de Mayo or listen to the top billboard songs in Mexico. Mexicans usually play guitar or maracas so if anyone around you knows how to play, this is the perfect chance for them to show off their skills! Or watch videos of mariachi bands.
- A Cinco de Mayo Feast – Make some guacamole, fresh salsa, nachos, margaritas and get the party started! For the main, think about your favourite Mexican dish. Here are some ideas: tacos, burritos, enchilada, Mexican fiesta rice, quesadilla or huevos rancheros. Enjoy the cooking process and get your family and friends involved!
- Something for the Kids – Papel picado is a traditional Mexican art form that is made in the same way as snowflake cut outs. Fold up some tissue paper and make different cuts and when you open the tissue paper you will be left with some beautiful decoration to brighten up your home and get in the festive mood. Alternatively, you can make a paper bag piñata! This is done by decorating plain paper bags and filling them up whatever treats you would like. Then, hang them up and let the kids have some fun!
Cinco de Mayo is a colourful and inclusive festival so we encourage everyone to take part this year but it is important to be respectful and culturally sensitive at the same time. Send us your pictures and videos of you celebrating Cinco De Mayo this year over on Instagram! (@loveyourselfhq)
By Pooja Depala