Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May in Spanish) celebrates Mexico's triumph over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While it is not a public holiday in the United States, it's a day to celebrate Mexican-American culture and heritage. Many metropolitan cities host large parades and parties featuring traditional foods.
What Deals Can You Expect on Cinco de Mayo?
Many Cinco de Mayo traditions center on food and drink. So, you'll find some of the best bargains at local family-owned restaurants and national chains. Also, check out major retailers for Cinco de Mayo sales.
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To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Chili's restaurant offers $5 dine-in drink specials. Options include draft imports, Cuervo Blue ‘Rita, Frose ‘Rita, and Presidente Margarita. Some locations also host a scavenger hunt. Look for strategically placed pinatas with $500 gift cards and Cinco de Mayo swag inside.
Occasionally, Chipotle offers a Cinco de Mayo trivia game. During the week leading up to Cinco de Mayo, customers can win coupon codes and gift cards.
Taco Bell offers one-day Cinco de Mayo menu items and has featured an at-home taco bar to feed your own party of six.
If there is a Blaze Pizza in your area, look for pizza deals. Sometimes, the chain provides a free drink with the order. Periodically, the restaurant offers free delivery on Cinco de Mayo.
Select Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants offer select margarita options to celebrate the occasion.
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Budget-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
Eating and drinking aren't the only ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Honor the day by taking advantage of these low-cost opportunities.
Take a Cultural Trip
You don't have to leave the country to learn about Mexican culture. Take a trip to a local library and discover how Mexicans have contributed to U.S. music, art, sports, fashion, politics, and more. Expand your appreciation by visiting local Mexican art museums and cultural centers. View various paintings and artifacts.
Attend a Battle of Puebla Reenactment
Search around town for Battle of Puebla reenactments. Participants wear military costumes to act out the battle between Mexican and French troops.
Enroll in a Dance Class
Styles like Jarabe and Folklorico are a huge part of the Cinco de Mayo celebration. Take steps to learn traditional dances like Jarabe Tapatio.
Buy books by Mexican Authors
Check out your favorite bookstore for works by Mexican writers. Often local bookstores put together displays to showcase books by Mexican authors. Plus, you may snag a discount.
DIY Ideas for Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo activities are fun and extravagant. From trying out new recipes to making crafts, you can find plenty of things to do. Here are a few suggestions.
Cook a delicious Mexican dinner
Have a feast of tamales, quesadillas, and tacos. Don't forget to try mole poblano, guacamole, plantain chips, and tres leches cake.
Participate in a Cinco de Mayo Parade
Join thousands of people on the streets to watch the Cinco de Mayo parade. Celebrations vary by city but generally include mariachi bands and dance performances. Check your local government website for activity details.
Dress in Colorful Attire
Cinco de Mayo is all about bright, festive colors. Generally, girls and women wear flowy multicolored skirts, ruffles, and flowers. Boys and men wear colorful serapes.
Make Cinco de Mayo decorations
Gather the kids to make banners, flowers, maracas, and pinatas. The projects are fun and easy to make.
Explore Websites for Relevant Information
Use websites like History.com as a resource to learn about Cinco de Mayo and Mexican culture.
What Is the History of Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo observes the date (May 5, 1862) when the Mexican army defeated invading French forces Napolean III sent to expand his empire. People often confuse the date with Mexican Independence Day, which is on September 16th.
After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1810, it experienced political instability and economic hardship. To endure, Mexico borrowed money from foreign countries. In 1861, President Benito Juarez announced that Mexico would pause payments. Consequently, the Triple Alliance (France, England, and Spain) sent their troops to Mexico to seize the land. Later, Mexico worked out a new payment arrangement with England and Spain. As a result, the two countries withdrew their forces. France, however, saw an opportunity to take advantage of Mexico's misfortune. Under Napoleon III's rule, France continued its plan to take over Mexico.
With the United States engaged in a Civil War, and other nations refusing to help, Mexico was left to fend for itself. France had a well-trained army triple the size of the Mexican military. Still, the Mexican troops won the daylong Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cinco de Mayo
Is There a Cinco de Mayo Day?
May 5th marks Cinco de Mayo each year. In Mexico, the city of Puebla (located 70 miles from Mexico City) plays host to several events. The town holds ceremonial events, military parades, and reenactments. In the United States, the event is more festive. People focus less on the Battle of Puebla and more on the accomplishments and experiences of Mexican-American people.
Why Is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that pays tribute to Mexico's victory over the French. The unlikely triumph at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, gave Mexicans a sense of pride. The first celebration took place in a small mining town in California. Once the Mexican miners learned the news, they held a party to celebrate. And as the word spread to other California towns, other cities had celebrations. The event gained popularity in the 1960s. Student activists promoted the story and held several events to express pride in their culture, thus launching the annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
On Which Day Is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?
Cinco de Mayo literally means the 5th of May, which is the day it falls on each year.