Culture and Heritage

Cinco De Mayo Facts

Cinco de Mayo, also known as Cinco de Mayo or Five Days of Cinco, is a national holiday in many countries. It is celebrated with great gusto and enthusiasm by Mexican Americans, as well as others. Cinco de Mayo originated in Mexico and is one of the most popular holidays for that country. It is celebrated with much gusto and enthusiasm throughout the United States as well. Cinco de Mayo facts are quite plentiful, but perhaps one of the most interesting and significant are the traditions surrounding the celebration. Cinco de Mayo was originally created as a way for Mexican soldiers to celebrate the end of the Mexican War. In fact, Cinco de Mayo has several historical and cultural ties to the Mexican Revolution. For instance, white linen tablecloths were traditionally used at this celebration to signal the end of the festivities. The traditional Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo, which may also include such items as quesadillas, was created around the time of the revolution. Cinco de Mayo, unlike many other holidays, is not based on any particular national holiday. Instead, it is a celebration that typically begins with a gathering of friends and family and continues through the night with dancing, feasting, and a grand celebration. Cinco de Mayo facts point out that this celebration is very similar to that of the St. Patrick's Day in Ireland. On that holiday, people dress in green, wear green beads, and drink green beer. Green beer is also known as Irish beer, and is the national drink for Ireland. Cinco de Mayo facts also show that the holiday got its start in America. When Mexico, then called the Mexican empire, was conquered by the French in the 16th century, they renamed the celebrations in their honor. At that point, the name "Cinco" began to be used, as well as "de Mayo," to indicate the celebration. One of the most popular Cinco de Mayo facts is that mariachi music is played throughout the party. This type of Mexican music is considered to be the genre of music of Mexico. "Mariachi" means "of the little cook" in Spanish, and mariachis are small food items that are cooked in chili sauce. Traditionally, these food items are eaten by children and adults alike on this holiday. Another Cinco de Mayo fact is that lots of Mexican Americans celebrate this day with a variety of Mexican foods. For instance, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, tamales, burritos, chili rellenos, taquitos, chimichangas, dips, desserts and more. In fact, there are so many different choices for foods that you will probably never be bored. Indeed, you may even get hungry during the Cinco de Mayo festivities!No two Cinco de Mayo facts will be the same as the others, since this Mexican holiday comes in many different years and various Mexican cultures. For instance, the first Cinco de Mayo took place in the 1860s in what is now Mexico City. It is said that American soldiers in the Mexican army were given Cinco de Mayo gifts by the volunteers who had given them shelter and food during the course of the Civil War. These gifts were simple items, such as candies, candy bars, blankets, ponchos and even small cowboy figurines. Today, Cinco de Mayo continues to have a tremendous impact on Mexican-American relations, especially on the cultural and political aspects of the holiday. It is no wonder that many non-Mexicans enjoy Cinco de Mayo, and vice versa. What most people do not realize, however, is that Cinco de Mayo also commemorates the many hardships, victories and contributions of the people of Mexico to the United States, and to our nation as a whole. Cinco de Mayo makes us aware of the sacrifices made by many Mexican people in order to build this great country we live in - a country with a very diverse heritage and history, and which is rich in pride and tradition.