Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken to be Mexico’s Independence Day, but it is in actuality the day the Mexican Army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. When translated, Cinco de Mayo means “5th of May.” On this day, Mexicans around the world take this opportunity to celebrate and appreciate their Mexican culture and history. Whether you are celebrating the day as remembrance to your ancestry, or you are partaking in festivities with friends, anyone can use Cinco de Mayo as a day to show appreciation for a culture rich in history and tradition. Throwing a Cinco de Mayo party is a great way to display all of beautiful and unique traditions and customs of Mexico. Here is a guide to planning a fun Cinco de Mayo party.
Understand the history behind the day
It doesn’t make sense to celebrate something you don’t understand, and many people do not really know the history behind Cinco de Mayo. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican army celebrated its victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. By the end of the battle, the French had lost nearly 500 soldiers while the Mexicans lost less than 100 soldiers. Although the holiday is considered minor in Mexico, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a major celebration, particularly among Mexican-Americans.
Incorporate traditional Mexican dishes
Mexican food is popular with many people, so choosing the food for your party should not be a problem because you have a lot of options. Rather than to purchase Mexican fast food from places such as Taco Bell, opt to make the food from scratch. For example, chiles rellenos is a stuffed pepper dish that originated in Puebla. The main ingredients include cheese, vegetables, and meat, which are all stuffed into the chilies and covered in a flaky crust. Mole is the generic name for sauce in Mexico, and there are many different kinds. Choose a recipe you feel most comfortable with and make it for your guests. It can serve the purpose of a dip alongside another dish. Tamales are another very popular Mexican dish. They are essentially a meat mixture wrapped in masa and cooked in a cornhusk. There are a variety of ways to make tamales and recipes to follow.
It wouldn’t be a Cinco de Mayo party without the appropriate cocktails. The plant from which tequila is made is primarily cultivated in Mexico, so serve your guests your best tequila cocktails. Margaritas are the most common, and they do not require many ingredients.
Use Mexican-style decorations
The celebration of Cinco de Mayo needs to resonate in every detail of your party, including the decorations. Use a piñata as part of the décor. It is fun for both children and adults. Also, display the Mexican flag. Make sure that the colors of the Mexican flag- red, white, and green- are used in all aspects of the party ranging from tablecloths and napkins to any party accessories. Be sure to also wear red, white, and green. Buy maracas and place them around the party area for your guests to use along to the music. Also buy a few sombreros and allow your guests to take them home as party favors.
Play traditional Mexican music
Although mariachi music is most closely associated with Mexican culture, there are other categories of Mexican music. Tejano music, made famous by singer Selena who was referred to as “The Queen of Tejano,” is an excellent choice. Play some of Selena’s classics and watch your guests get up to dance. If possible, find videos of traditional Mexican dancing and project the videos on a television screen so that your guests can also dance along.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the day should be about fun and celebration, as well as learning more about the Mexican culture than you may have known previously. Wherever you choose to celebrate the joyous occasion, be sure to make time to watch your local Cinco de Mayo parade and to partake in the festivities.