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Having Fun with a Cinco De Mayo celebration

Posted by Dharini Gandhi on

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of the unexpected triumph of the Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza against French troops at the “Battle of Puebla” on May 5, 1852.

The biggest celebrations of Cinco de Mayo in Mexico are held at the City of Puebla where the original clash between Mexican and French armies took place. Puebla is one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites mainly because of its cultural significance such as 16th and 17th-century churches.  It is also culinarily significant to Mexico as well.

An annual Cinco de Mayo parade is held wherein thousands of residents dress up as Mexican and French combatants for a reenactment of the actual battle. Celebrations commence after the victory of the Mexican forces with street dancing, food, and drinks. Numerous colorful floats are the main components of the parade along with stacks of piñatas filled with cookies and candies.

As part of the traditions for Cinco de Mayo, the City also plays host to the FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE PUEBLA attended by various artists’ worldwide as well as Mexican performers, dancers, and musicians. Cinco de Mayo is not a Federal holiday in the country of Mexico nor is it celebrated in all major cities. Normal schedules and business establishments, banks and government offices are open on this day.

Would you believe that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more by Americans than Mexicans? This is partially the handiwork of President Roosevelt’s administration which focused on the “Good Neighbor” Policy. This demonstrated mutual exchanges with countries in Latin America primarily Mexico. The purpose of Cinco de Mayo has assisted in many ways as a political bridge to the gap between the two countries’ cultures.

A report from the independent Pew Research Center cited there are over 23 million people in the US of Mexican ancestry. Likewise, Mexicans account for more than 64 percent of Latinos in the USA. In the United States, the continuing traditions of Cinco de Mayo highlight Mexican and American cultures blended.

PARTY PLANNING

margarita glasses on sale

Party-goers often celebrate Cinco de Mayo with margaritas, sangrias, and beer. Mexican food includes fajitas, cheese and bean burritos, enchiladas, nachos, beef tacos, quesadillas, and tamales.  There are also other regional delicacies like the Mole Poblano sauce, that contains around 20 ingredients.

A popular activity of Cinco de Mayo is making your own Maracas. All you need are two empty canisters, two Popsicle sticks, vinyl tape (colored), black paint or marker, scissors, and dry beans or beads.

Use of modernized, light-up maracas to shake and party into the night with are also common accessories for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.  

led maracas

For Cinco de Mayo party favors, highlight a dazzling flowerey motif printed on plates, party cups, napkins, and Piñatas. Invite family members and friends to wear costumes like sombreros, multicolored stripes, red chili peppers, and carry maracas.

Many Americans have been commemorating the traditions for Cinco de Mayo for many decades. It is a great opportunity to make friends, party, enjoy spicy Mexican food, and take part in holiday drinking sprees. One of the most visited Cinco de Mayo events in the USA are; Chicago (Douglas Park) which brings in around 200,000 and more visitors, Denver (400,000 tourists) as well as the Waterfront Festival in Portland, Oregon, that draws some 300,000 guests every year.

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