Cinco de Mayo Is…
Party time! And a yearly celebration of the Mexican victory over the French army in La Batalla de Puebla in 1862. Believe it or not, the U.S. and the state of Puebla in Mexico are the two places that celebrate this Mexican holiday full force. In some parts of Mexico its recognition is non-existent.
Don’t be surprised if when celebrating this holiday many don’t even know what they are celebrating. Many people believe that when we celebrate Cinco de Mayo we commemorate Mexican independence. Yes, I have heard many people say so. What they don’t realize is that Mexicans celebrate Independence Day on September 16th when they pour into the streets to see the reenactments of the Grito de Independencia.
Another way to celebrate is by attending one of the events around the country on 5 de Mayo. For example the Denver 5 de Mayo Celebration. You can get tickets in advance to this weekend fiesta. Denver expects more than 400,000 people to attend this year. Also you can visit Albuquerque, NM, where parades, food, Latin music and a vibrant ambiance take over the city for the weekend.
How This Holiday Came to Life
After the battle many inhabitants of puebla started to celebrate this victory. In Mexico city the small neighborhood of Peñón de los Baños prepares a popular reenactment of the Cinco de Mayo battle. Many families come early with small children to celebrate and scream Viva Mexico at the end.
Did you know that the American celebration of this holiday started here in the U.S. in 1863 when a Mexican entrepreneur threw a Cinco de Mayo dance with private Mexican and Spanish dances? Do you want to know more? Check this article about Cinco de Mayo history in the U.S.
Celebrate with Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas
Throwing a Mexican bash is fairly easy. Think about Mexican invitations that are unique and festive, colorful Mexican decorations, authentic Mexican foods to serve and real Mexican ingredients to cook with.
Invitations are simple, you can make them yourself, if you have the time, or use your computer. After looking for a while, I found a store that customizes my invitations and they are classy and fun! I just have to fill in the information and they are delivered to my door.
Recipes and Foods to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
Thinking about a simple and authentic Cinco de Mayo menu? There are many dishes and foods you can use to decorate and serve to your guests. Think about it, placing a bowl filled with red chili peppers makes a special Mexican touch as a center piece if you place in the middle of it a thick orange or yellow candle.
Greet your guests with vero mango candy, chewy and sweet. If the party is small and you are going to make a dish I recommend you check these Cinco de Mayo Recipes.
To munch on, serve guacamole with Mexican tortilla chips, Mexican cheese cut in cubes, Mexican chorizo and fresh fruits like mango, and guava cut in slices.
Don’t have time for cooking? Here is what I sometimes do: I order Del Real Food Gourmet Pork and Chicken Tamales in red sauce (12 per count) and I serve them with fried beans and salad. For dessert I buy cajeta quemada or dulce de leche which is a dark syrup Mexicans and many other Hispanics make from caramelized sugar and goat milk (preferably).
Drinks to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
Drinks are essential to give a Mexican touch. I offer Jose Cuervo Tequila, Coronas with lime (everybody likes them), margaritas and for the non-alcohol drinkers I offer aguas frescas, which are fruit drinks made with mango, pineapple, guava, etc.
Make a display with beverages by placing them in a big pottery bowl like the ones you use for gardening and mixing different ones, think of food as decor.
One of the most important things to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is to use real Mexican ingredients. Many of us live in areas like NY, LA, etc., and can find the ingredients relatively easy,
Mexican Decor to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
There are many things you can use like small cactuses for the tables (give them to your guests at the end), small Mexican flags dispersed on the tables, bold colored candles, but by far my favorite decorations are sarapes and luminarias (especially at night). The last two I recycle every year and use them again and again.
One thing is for sure, you are going to have lots of fun when you celebrate Cinco de Mayo, why? Because it is a perfect opportunity to enjoy Hispanic heritage Mexican style.