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Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Time!

May 04, 2012

Cinco de Mayo means “the fifth of May” in Spanish. This day marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla between the Mexicans and the French. During the battle, a small group of Mexican infantrymen stopped a massive French invasion into Mexico, a victory that helped create a feeling of unity in the country. Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico but is even more popular in the United States.

All across America, kids and families celebrate Hispanic culture with parades, music, food, and festivals. The largest event is held in Los Angeles, where more than half a million people attend Festival de Fiesta. Celebrations in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Texas also attract thousands of people. There is even a Cinco de Mayo event in Chandler, Arizona, that celebrates Chihuahuas, with parades, races, and a pageant where the King and Queen of Chihuahuas are crowned! 

What you might do to celebrate:

  • Draw or bake a Mexican flag cake: The Mexican flag is red, white, and green. Its middle emblem, based on an Aztec legend, shows an eagle holding a snake, perched on a cactus sitting on a rock in a lake. Or prepare a plate with the colors of the Mexican flag using red (peppers), white (jicama), and green (pea pods) veggies. Don’t forget the dip!
  • Start a mariachi band: Go online to find ways to make some homemade instruments, like a maraca (sound shaker), and play along to some fun Mexican mariachi music.
  • Wear a sombrero: This Mexican hat has a high pointed top and large brim. Its design was influenced by the cowboy hat!
  • March in a parade: Find out if your area is hosting a Cinco de Mayo parade. Or better yet, gather some friends and an adult and start your own!
  • Read the history: Find out more about how General Ignacio Zaragosa and his troops triumphed over the French.