Every May 5th, the cannons of France and Mexico roar again, and each time, Mexico wins.
Well, not really, but on Cinco de Mayo, parades in Mexico re-enact the famous Battle of Puebla between the poorly-dressed and ill-shod troops of Mexico, and their technologically-superior French opponents, led by Napoleon III. Mexico, of course, always wins.
History aside, this day has become important to Mexicans and Americans over the years. It is a time to share the pride that the last time any foreign power acted as an aggressor on North American soil was over 300 years ago. It is a time to celebrate the friendship between Mexico and America. In particular, it is a time to celebrate one’s Mexican heritage!
Here are some fun Cinco de Mayo facts that you might not have known.
—Texas and California celebrate Cinco de Mayo, with some huge events where everyone (not just those of Mexican descent) joins in. Parades, traditional music, dancing, and clothing. Along with delicious Mexican food and desserts.
—Many people think that Cinco de Mayo is the same day as Mexican Independence Day, but that’s not true. The very name of the holiday belies that false fact! “Cinco de Mayo” means “Fifth of May” in Spanish.
—Traditionally people wear red, white and green, the Mexican national colors on Cino de Mayo. Women will typically wear long and wide flowing skirts.
—If the Mexicans had not won the Battle of Puebla, France would have aided the South in the American Civil War, and US history might look quite different.
—The largest Cinco de Mayo event in the world is actually in Los Angeles, where over 600,000 participants celebrate. Other large festivals that draw hundreds of thousands of participants are located in St. Paul’s, Minnesota, and Denver, Colorado.
—You’re sure to see the Mexican flag everywhere on this day! The flag has three colors, each of which actually symbolizes something. Green is the color of hope and the resistance, while the red represents Spain and unity. The white stands for purity and religion. The symbols of the eagle and snake in the center of the flag are based on a Mexican legend.
—Some nontraditional Cinco de Mayo celebrations include a skydiving event near Vancouver, BC and an air guitar competition in the Cayman Islands.
—Over 36 million Americans, or 11.2 percent of the total American population, are of Mexican origin as of 2016. Perhaps this is why Cinco de Mayo is so widely celebrated in the USA!
Family Game to Play on Cinco de May
La Lotería (Mexican Bingo)
You may be surprised to know that the quintessential Mexican game Lotería has its origins in Europe and came to Mexico by way of Spain. Lotería is often referred to as “Mexican Bingo”. For anyone who has had the opportunity to play Lotería, will find similarities in playing American Bingo. However, players will quickly realize, how much more visually and intellectually engaging and fun it is to play Lotería than the American Bingo game.
Traditional Mexican Recipes
“Mexican cuisine is much more than tacos and burritos. It’s every bit as varied as most cuisines. Coastal regions lean heavily on seafood, while in northern areas, where cattle is king, the cow is relied upon — all of the cow. Some places swim in tropical flavors — papaya and mango, habañero peppers and yucca. Other parts of Mexico take enormous care with their range of mole sauces. Where Tex-Mex is confined to a relatively tight corral of dishes, the food of Mexico is a wide-open range.” Traditional Mexican Recipes
Supporting The Arts Locally
Get involved in local community programs that support the Mexican art & heritage.
HERENCIA MARIACHI ACADEMY is located in Corona, Ca. The academy provides the rich heritage of mariachi music through education that will pass from generation to generation. This Education will provide values and knowledge of mariachi music to young children through activities in the community, which is an essential part of the academy program.
The Riverside Arts Academy is located in Riverside, CA. They offer an assortment of classes varying in arts of traditional Mexican folklorico dance.