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Cinco de Mayo

Discover the tradition of Cinco de Mayo

Piñatas, good food, wild partying, dancing and plenty of tequila are the hallmarks of a typical Cinco de Mayo celebration – but what exactly what is Cinco de Mayo? There's a lot more history behind this boisterous holiday than most people realize, and throwing a great Cinco de Mayo bash isn't just for Mexico anymore. The celebration of Cinco de Mayo has spread from its Mexican roots to Spanish-speaking countries and regions the world over.

Cinco de Mayo History

To understand the revelry surrounding Cinco de Mayo, it's best to start with a little Cinco de Mayo trivia. Named for the 5th of May, it was first declared a Mexican holiday in recognition of the defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla. Even today, Puebla's Cinco de Mayo celebration is among the largest and most emphatic in the world. The recognition of Cinco de Mayo history quickly spread from Mexico to the United States, where it is primarily a celebration of the cultural diversity of America's southern neighbor. The holiday is also an unofficial lead-in to the Memorial Day weekend that falls towards the end of May.

Planning a Cinco de Mayo Party

Any proper Cinco de Mayo party includes plenty of specially prepared Cinco de Mayo food. Of course, the culinary delights you offer should be decidedly Mexican, and ought to include a good avocado spread, tacos, enchiladas, burritos and plenty of Latin spices. The holiday is usually an outdoor affair, and the pleasant spring weather is usually perfect for firing up the grill and cooking some sizzling barbecued meat, Mexican style.

The next thing you'll need is the Cinco de Mayo decorations. No holiday is quite as colorful and loud as Cinco de Mayo; brightly colored streamers and Mexican flags flapping in the wind are considered a minimum requirement. Most larger cities that recognize the holiday plan a parade, complete with floats, confetti and elaborate Cinco de Mayo decorations.

Of course, no Cinco de Mayo party is complete without a piñata. If you don't know how to make one, you can find one ready-made by visiting Latin-themed shops in your city. Breaking the piñata open is a perfect way to punctuate a Cinco de Mayo celebration, especially if you have younger children in attendance.

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