If you’re hearing the buzz about upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebrations and wondering how to make the most of this fun holiday, you’re in the right place! This festive holiday is a day filled with good food, music, and excitement. Learning about Cinco de Mayo and planning your own celebration can be a fun and cultural experience for both kids and adults.
So, mark your calendars for the fifth of May, and use this handy information to learn about the holiday and celebrate it in memorable ways.
What is Cinco de Mayo?
Surprisingly, Cinco de Mayo is more celebrated in the United States than in Mexico. It has become a day set aside by many Americans for celebrating Mexican culture. However, its historical roots go back to the 1800s in Mexico.
Many refer to Cinco de Mayo as the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla. This battle was a notable turning point in the conflict between Mexico and Napoleon III’s French Forces. At the time, the French Army was en route to the Mexican capital to establish a ruling force.
Although they were outnumbered, the Mexican Army wasn’t going to let that happen. Led by General Zaragoza, the Mexican troops stopped the French convoy at the city of Puebla. The two militias engaged and fought until dawn. Finally, France realized they had underestimated the Mexican Army and retreated, making Mexico the victors of The Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Though winning The Battle of Puebla was an important victory, it wasn’t the end of the conflict. France continued their efforts for five more years before finally withdrawing completely in 1867. However, Mexico had gained its independence as a nation many years earlier in 1810. The country’s Independence Day is actually September 16th, when Mexico celebrates its fight for freedom from Spanish colonial rule.
Cinco De Mayo Celebrations in Mexican and American Cities
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated widely in the United States, especially in regions with large Mexican-American populations. Parades featuring Mexican music and dancers commemorate the occasion in cities including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Americans everywhere enjoy Tex-Mex favorites like tacos and margaritas to honor the occasion.
In Pueblo, the holiday’s birthplace, celebrations include a military parade honoring the soldiers who fought in the historic battle. At the end, indigenous people perform cultural dances in traditional garb. The festivities continue for the rest of the month with entertainment, artistic displays, and weeks of delicious Mexican treats.
Cinco de Mayo Activities for Kids
Cultural holidays are the perfect chance to inject festivity into learning. Planning fun Cinco de Mayo activities for your family is an opportunity to immerse yourselves in another culture.
1. Make Tacos Together for a Mexican Meal
Who doesn’t love a good DIY food bar? A build-your-own taco setup is a great way to get kiddos involved with food prep and trying new flavors. Pick up packages of hard and soft shells tacos and brown your favorite meat or other protein with taco seasoning. Then, set these toppings out buffet-style and let diners make their own delicious creations:
- Mexican blend cheese
- Shredded lettuce
- Diced onions
- Sour cream
- Sliced black olives
2. Decorate Cinco de Mayo Cookies or Cupcakes
What’s a holiday meal without a delectable dessert? When you plan to decorate cookies or cupcakes with your kids, you turn a yummy treat into a fun activity. Many traditional Mexican dessert recipes are kid-friendly and fun to experiment with. Look for recipes with flavors that the whole family will enjoy such as:
- Churro Cupcakes
- Tres Leches Cupcakes
- Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
- Traditional Polvorones Cookies
- Mexican Wedding Cookies
Whip up a batch of your favorite frosting or purchase a ready-made container. Then, spread each treat with a layer of frosting. Use red, white, and green sprinkles—the colors of the Mexican flag—to make your own unique creations. Then, vote on the best one for a little friendly competition.
3. Homemade Fiesta Decorations
Take your fiesta to the next level with some colorful homemade décor. Allowing everyone to do their part in creating the decorations makes it a fun family affair.
Grab some sheets of tissue paper in bright colors and fold them several times into squares. Cut out shapes of various sizes, just like making paper snowflakes. Then, unfold your fun flags and string them around your walls for your very own Cinco de Mayo banner.
Your colorful banner will create the perfect backdrop for a photo booth. Get creative making props with craft sticks and printed sombrero and mustache shapes. Take silly pics and record video clips, then send them off to iMemories so those memories will last a lifetime and you can relive your fun over and over again.
Support Mexican Businesses
One of the most meaningful ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is to support Mexican-owned businesses. Do some quick research to discover what Mexican-owned businesses exist in your area. Order delicious takeout from a nearby taco stand, or check out the Mexican supermarket you’ve been meaning to visit. If your area is lacking in Mexican-owned businesses, search online for authentic Mexican candy and drinks that you can have delivered right to your door.
Cinco de Mayo is a perfect opportunity to learn about another culture in a fun and engaging way. On this upcoming May 5th, plan to enjoy delicious food, create festive decorations, and make lasting memories!