Cinco de Mayo is a festival to celebrate Mexican culture. Music, clothing, drinks, and foods. We’ve got a lot of amigos – and for us, a celebration always needs flavor! And what better than Mexican spice?
So, read up all you can on this party that’s a homage to an epic battle back in the 19th century, and celebrated from coast to coast in the U.S.A.
And if you want to throw your own Cinco de Mayo fest, we give you some tips and tricks!
What is Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican celebration of victory. In 1861, the English, Spanish, and French invaded Mexico because it decided not to pay its debts on time.
The Mexicans owed big time because of past wars, such as the Mexican-American war and couldn’t get their economy back on track. So, the then president of Mexico, Benito Juárez, said he would pay the Europeans back in two years.
But the Europeans didn’t like that and came to Mexican shores with their full fleets demanding full payment. After some talking, England and Spain retreated, but the French decided to stay.
And the French stayed with the support of Mexican landowners to establish an Empire in the country and fight against the USA.
It didn’t take long for the Mexican people to fight back. Even though they were poorly equipped and trained, four-thousand Mexicans fought six-thousand French and won at the Fifth of May of 1862. This is Cinco de Mayo.
Keep in mind that Cinco de Mayo isn’t Independence Day for the Mexicans. Mexicans celebrate their independence from Spain on September 16th.
What are Cinco de Mayo celebrations like in Mexico?
In Mexico, the biggest Cinco de Mayo festival is in Puebla, the town where the Mexicans defeated the French.
Over 20 thousand people attend the parade of floats and dancers in traditional dress. There’s also a reenactment of the battle.
Cinco de Mayo isn’t a national holiday in Mexico, and most Mexicans only celebrate Independence Day. It is a holiday in the state where the battle happened though so that locals can celebrate.
How Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the U.S?
In the U.S, Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture, traditions and – of course – foods and drinks. There are a lot of Mexicans and descendants living in the U.S, so it makes sense that the occasion is celebrated around here. It is, after all, a great chance to promote ethnic consciousness and build community solidarity.
Cinco de Mayo was first celebrated in the United States in Southern California in 1863 as a show of solidarity with Mexico against French rule. So, besides enjoying the delicious treats that we usually taste in this day, why not also make the most of it and also learn more about Mexican culture and history?
How to throw a Cinco de Mayo party
Listen up: Cinco de Mayo isn’t made just for tequila drinkin’. Sure Mexicans (and us Americans) love to drink, but a true Cinco de Mayo party packs a whole lot more than that.
So, get inspired and learn how to celebrate this fiesta:
Typical Mexican Clothing
If you’re invited to a traditional party – or even if you throw one yourself – here are some of the typical outfits you might see:
- Huipil: This is a dress worn by Native Americans before the colonization of Mexico. It’s a loose tunic decorated with flowers, ribbons, and Aztec or Mayan patterns.
- China Poblana: This is a traditional style of dress from the 19th century. It’s a white blouse, a colored skirt with floral and geometric patterns, and satin shoes. Add a shawl around the neck and jewelry bracelets for a complete look.
- Poncho: A large sheet just with an opening for the head. Worn by the native Incas from South America since 500 B.C., this clothing became popular in Mexico to protect against the rain and wind. Made of wool or yarn, colors can vary from tan and gray to more festive multicolor designs.
- Sarape: This is a shawl worn around the neck by Mexicans to protect from the heat. It’s usually brown or gray and has traditional indigenous patterns.
Decorate the venue
Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo with bright and patriotic colors. So dazzle up your place with green, red, and white to get into the spirit of the event!
- Decorate tables with colors of the Mexican Flag. Get creative and buy cups and cutlery in green, red, or white.
- Hang Papel Picado banners
- Use fabrics with Aztec patterns for tablecloths
- Get a piñata and let guests have a go at it with a bat – remember the blindfold! Fill it up with assorted candy and have fun
Play Mexican Music
To pay true homage to Cinco de Mayo, get some speakers and play traditional Mexican Folk Music. Mariachi dates back to the time of the event and can get anyone in a groove with its guitar and trumpet sounds.
Have Mexican Food and Drink
Cook up some tacos and quesadillas and fill them up with jalapeño and avocados (we got two sections coming right up for you to get the full details and recipes).
And when it comes to drink, Mexicans have several beverages. If you want some alcohol, get tequila, aguardiente, and mezcal. These drinks have high alcohol content, so be careful!
For the kids and those who don’t want alcohol, you can serve hibiscus tea and agua fresca (fruit mixed with sugar and water).
Mexican cooking is a mix of traditional Aztec dishes with ingredients brought by the Spanish when they colonized the region. Meals include corn, beans, avocados, tomatoes, cacao, sweet potatoes, and chili peppers.
Mexican Cuisine has a history of over nine thousand years and a large variety from state to state. In the South, at Chiapas, they eat tamales (dough with banana leaves) all the way to cabrito BBQ in the North at Nuevo León (cooked goat).
During Cinco de Mayo, Mexicans in the Puebla region – where the battle happened – eat Mole Poblano, chili and chocolate sauce poured over chicken, turkey or pork.
Mexican Foods to cook on the Griddle
Griddles are made for Mexican cuisine. The native Aztecs cooked tortillas on flat tops made of clay known as comals, and till today Mexicans cook dishes on a flat, hot surface.
Blackstone Griddles amp up the game with a steel plate large enough to fit 28 burgers and with consistent heat – no cold spots. That means you can cook all the dishes with Mexican flavor, but with less effort.
So, bring out the taste with these Mexican-inspired meals that are fully approved for griddle use – our experts cooked these dishes themselves before spreading the word:
- Bacon Jalapeño Popper Burger
- Bonzai Pipeline Tacos
- Jalapeño Cheese Crisps
- Pulled Pork Breakfast Tacos
- New Mexico Breakfast Quesadillas
- Salmon Tacos with Avocado & Corn Salsa
Did you like our tips? How do you like to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
Send us photos of your Cinco de Mayo party on social media with #BlackstoneGriddles and #GriddleNation