Cinco de Mayo Traditions and Facts about Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo Traditions and Facts
Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican festival, which celebrates a great achievement in the history of Mexico and “Cinco de Mayo” means May 5. A Mexican army of about four thousand defeated a large French army on May 5, 1862. The French emperor Napoleon III had not lost a battle in over fifty years so the Mexican defeat of the French was seen as a major victory. As a result of this battle, the US armed forces were able to build up their forces, building up their strategic power, and end the civil war. This is why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the United States as well as in Mexico.
Hearty Cinco de Mayo Celebrations
Mexicans love to celebrate in colorful and vibrant ways and the red, green and white of the Mexican flag set the tone of the celebrations. Cinco de Mayo decorations include flowers, balloons, streamers, and flags and Mexican music is enjoyed at Cinco de Mayo parties too.
Cinco de Mayo is a time to enjoy traditional Mexican recipes and the best loved Mexican foods. It is common for several Mexican favorites to be prepared and, with activities for Cinco de Mayo including dancing and singing; these can be enjoyed before the food is served.
Mexican children enjoy piñatas at Cinco de Mayo celebrations, which are paper mache animals or figures, filled with candies. They take it in turns being blindfolded and hitting the piñata with a stick until it breaks and the candy spills out. Many piñatas are homemade and this is one of the most fun Cinco de Mayo crafts.
Interesting Facts about Cinco de Mayo
- Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla. Although many people mistake Cinco de Mayo for Mexican Independence Day, that holiday actually falls on September 16.
- Cinco de Mayo is also significant to Americans because it marks the last time a foreign power acted the aggressor on American soil.
- Parades are popular, marchers dressed as Mexican, and French generals lead the way, followed by soldiers and freedom fighters armed with old-fashioned rifles and machetes. The women in the parade will wear flowery hats and skirts to represent to women who traveled with the army to care for the men and cook their meals. Those dressed, as French soldiers will carry knapsacks with wine bottles poking out of them.
- The mid-afternoon reenactment battle takes place after the parade and cannons and rifles roar. There is a lot of shouting and smoke and the Mexican and French generals meet at nightfall for a sword battle, with the Mexican general winning. There are also lively games and dances, speeches by government officials, traditional foods, bullfights, mariachi music, and colorful decorations. The celebration ends with fireworks and piñatas for the kids.
Cinco de Mayo is a day of political and military significance but it is not the battle, which is being celebrated. The fiesta is a celebration of independence, freedom, and national pride. It is a great way to teach the kids about the history of their country and also the perfect occasion to enjoy the best loved Mexican food recipes at the same time.
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