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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Just saying the words, Cinco de Mayo brings a smile to most people’s faces because it’s synonymous with a fiesta. But have you ever wondered what Cinco de Mayo even is? Here’s the background on this holiday and some fun and creative ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your friends and family.

What is Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo means Fifth of May in Spanish. It’s a Mexican holiday widely celebrated in the U.S. Many people mistakenly believe it honors Mexican Independence Day, but that’s actually on September 16.

Instead, Cinco de Mayo honors a Mexican military victory on May 5, 1862, over Napoleon’s French forces in Puebla, a city southeast of Mexico City. The city of Puebla celebrates Cinco de Mayo every year to honor Mexico’s unlikely victory and those who fought and died in the battle. There, it’s a day full of parades, festivities, and reenactments of the battle.

Aside from Puebla, Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated much in other parts of Mexico, but Americans have embraced the day. Around the 1960s, Mexican immigrants in the U.S. began celebrating the day to encourage pride in their Mexican heritage. It’s become the biggest annual celebration of Mexican-American culture in the U.S.

How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
For many people, Cinco de Mayo is all about Mexican food and drinks. Americans eat an estimated 81 million pounds of avocados (mainly in guacamole) on May 5th alone and wash it down with their favorite Mexican beverages like Margaritas, Palomas, sangria, and of course, Cerveza (beer).

Of course, the food is key, but if you’re looking for something different to add to your Cinco de Mayo celebration this year, try some of these ideas too:

Make your own pinata
Pinatas are the ultimate accessory for any type of Mexican celebration. Traditionally, they’re shaped and decorated like animals, but there’s no rule around that. These mini pinatas are made from paper cups and can be decorated any way you like. Even the littlest ones in your house can get involved in this easy craft project. Let each person make one (or a few) and display them around the house in the days leading up to Cinco de Mayo.

Take Spanish lessons
Even if the closest you come to speaking Spanish is ordering food at a Mexican restaurant, it’s still nice to learn a few key words and phrases. Consider trying a few online Spanish lessons. Many are relaxed, family-friendly, and a fun way to learn something new together. Plus, you can do as few or many as you like. Duolingo is one popular, free option for online language classes.

Celebrate Mexican art and culture
Mexico has a very vibrant art and cultural history. There might be a museum, art gallery, or store with authentic goods from Mexican artisans nearby, just waiting for you to explore. If you don’t know of one offhand, do a quick Google search and look for other cultural events for Cinco de Mayo too. You might luck out and find an artisan fair with authentic foods, music, and folk dancing.

Try your hand at Mexican cooking
Mexican cuisine is diverse, with different ingredients and flavors throughout the country’s regions. Whether you love meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables, there’s something for everyone. If you want to try a few Mexican-inspired recipes for your Cinco de Mayo dinner or in the days leading up to it, here are a few favorites from our the Rubio’s culinary team: