While the U.S.’s big celebration of independence is observed on the fourth of July, Mexican-Americans enjoy a holiday of their own exactly two months — less a day — later on Cinco de Mayo, AKA “the fifth of May.” Let’s take a closer look at this cultural fete, along with some simple (and delicious!) ways to get in on the fiesta.
The 411 on Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo, also known as “El Día de la Batalla de Puebla” (“The Day of the Battle of Puebla”), honors Mexico’s conquering of invading France in 1862’s Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Despite the Mexican army being largely outnumbered and breathtakingly under-supplied, Texas native General Ignacio Zaragoza led his troops to unlikely victory.
While the battle in itself did not have major strategic bearing on the outcome of the war, the retreat of the French during the Battle of Puebla was symbolically significant as it boosted morale among the embattled Mexican resistance movement. One other thing to note about Cinco de Mayo: It is not a celebration of independence for one major reason: Mexico’s independence was won a full half-century before the Battle of Puebla!
Upon the conclusion of the war in 1867, May 5th returned to a day like any other day in Mexico except in the state of Puebla and a few other parts of the country.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the U.S.
Regardless of whether or not Cinco de Mayo is a major holiday in Mexico, it’s become a unique and eagerly awaited celebration of the Mexican-American heritage in the United States. Particularly popular in areas with bustling Mexican-American communities, including Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago, Cinco de Mayo offers a wonderful opportunity for Americans of all ethnicities to celebrate our collectively rich culture and diversity.
From parades to pinatas and everything in between, Mexican culture is brimming with family-friendly opportunities for fun. All of which begs the question: Why not gather up your friends, neighbors, and family members to throw a Cinco de Mayo celebration of your own this year?
The internet is your new best friend when it comes to hosting a Cinco de Mayo-themed fiesta. At your fingertips are instructions for everything from creating the colorful traditional Mexican folk art known as papel picado to playing the raucous Mexican card game, Lotería! When it comes time to spin some tunes, meanwhile, make it mariachi for a particularly festive feel.
Of course, Mexican cuisine is beloved all over the world for its spicy, vibrant flavors so no Cinco de Mayo celebration is complete without the food. If you’re not up for spending hours in the kitchen attempting the near-impossible feat of replicating authentic Mexican food, you can still enjoy a true Mexican feast thanks to gourmet food delivery from FoodyDirect.
Our pick? The assorted offerings of Fort Worth, Texas’s Hot Damn Tamales! A favorite of everyone from Martha Stewart staff to the “Today Show,” these corn husk-stuffed delicacies are available in a variety of flavors, ranging from classics like Poblano Chicken Cilantro Lime and Black Bean & Oaxaca Cheese to unexpected picks including Spinach, Feta & Kalamata Olive and Wild Mushroom and Texas Goat Cheese.
When it comes time to satisfy the sweet tooth, Chocolate Cherry Pecan Tamales are the perfect finishing touch to any Cinco de Mayo meal — particularly when served alongside a scoop — or dos or tres — of organic Mexican Chocolate ice cream packed with cinnamon, almonds and dark chocolate chunks.
Not up for throwing a boisterous bash? Think smaller and serve up an intimate Mexican meal for your nearest and dearest loved ones.
Just because Cinco de Mayo major holiday in Mexico, doesn’t mean you can’t make it a major holiday of your own. With a little help from your amigos at FoodyDirect, that is. Shop foods for Cinco de Mayo and more today.