American Events: Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

So.

This is a weird one.

Imagine Swiss people would celebrate a battle that one of their neighboring countries had won. And it wasn’t even an “important” one (historians chill out, I mean it wasn’t bringing them independence or anything). I honestly think that Americans just love Mexican food and drinks and found a good enough reason to celebrate this holiday to allow them to eat/drink even more of it on one specific day (and I do totally GET IT, I LOVE MEXICO and its culture and food too). But let me elaborate on the topic a little more.

The facts (for the historians amongst you, otherwise skip to the party ideas below)

What it is: Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). While the holiday is not that important in Mexico itself (it’s not a federal holiday so offices, banks and stores are still open) it is HUGE in the US where it has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Some of the largest festivals are held in LA, Chicago and Houston.

What it isn’t: Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which is celebrated on September 16.

How to host your own Cinco de Mayo party?

Almost any bar, pub or café here will have a mexican-related drink or food item on offer on the day. Not to mention the craziness going on in Mexican restaurants and eateries. If you’re into Mexican food as much as I am, I’ll help you out with a few starter ideas on how to create and host your own Cinco de Mayo party, ok?

Drinks

If you want to be a little more original and don’t want to opt for a Margarita go for a Paloma instead. It’s a drink that I’ve gotten to know during our travels in Mexico. Here’s how you can do it at home:

Paloma Recipe 

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces 100 percent agave reposado tequila
  • Juice of 1/2 medium lime
  • Grapefruit-flavored soda (or just a bit of squeezed grapefruit juice in sparkly water) 

Food

I mean. You choose.

Mole Poblano, Tamales, Nachos, Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Tacos, Chilaquiles and the list goes on.

Check out Bon Appétit’s nice overview of recipes here that aren’t all Tacos (even though they are obviously DELICIOUS). Or the ones over at delish.com here, just because the photos will make you HUNGRY.

A must is obviously freshly made Guacamole, check out if there’s a local Mexican shop that sells good homemade tortilla chips to go with it or make them at home by simply cutting up tortillas and roast them in the oven. But obviously for convenience’s sake, buy them.

Music

Without meaning to sound cliché but you should listen to some Mariachi music, which is obviously a classic choice for the event at hand.

You’ll find two of my all time favorites below:

There are plenty of interesting young and (more modern) artists but I somehow love the old songs a lot too. Are you going to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

 

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