Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati
Happy Cinco de Mayo! This Mexican festival, known for the celebration of all things stereotypical Mexican, is held on May 5 each year. We looked beyond the tacos and piñatas at what the festivities of Cinco de Mayo are really about.
Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexican Independence Day
That’s on September 16. The day actually celebrates a Mexican military victory from 1862, where a battle in Puebla saw them defeat a French force double their size. The Battle of Puebla victory is seen as symbolic of Mexico’s pride and unity.
The largest celebration in Mexico is in Puebla
The city of Puebla, in the center of Mexico, holds the largest celebration for Cinco de Mayo in Mexico. Complete with a battle re-enactment, a parade, and fireworks, the city is alight with celebrations. This historic city, just a few hours from Mexico City, is near the world’s largest pyramid, and is known for its talavera pottery. The Cinco de Mayo parade in Puebla sees 20,000 participants including military floats, school children, and more.
Cinco de Mayo is not a holiday in Mexico
The festivities are celebrated more in North America, in cities of large Mexican populations, than in Mexico itself. Many Mexicans don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo with partying, like we would expect. It’s not a declared national holiday, so most stores, banks, and offices are open and business continues as usual throughout the country.
Tacos aren’t a Cinco de Mayo food
The most common food in Mexican Cinco de Mayo celebrations is mole poblano – not tacos, tequila, burritos, or guacamole. What is mole poblano? It’s a thick sauce made with green chiles that is normally served over a meat. Mole is eaten as a celebration food in Mexico: whether at a party, wedding, or on Cinco de Mayo when you’re feeling extra festive.
The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration is in LA
The day itself is more a celebration for Mexican-Americans than it is in Mexico itself. With that, Los Angeles puts on the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world with street fairs, every Mexican restaurant and bar hosting specials, and individual neighbourhood celebrations.
Whether you’re celebrating authentically or with burritos and margaritas, we want to hear what you’re doing for Cinco de Mayo!