Cinco de Mayo Celebration Ideas

Many Americans often think Cinco de Mayo is the Independence Day of our friends south of the border. In actuality, only one Mexican state celebrates the day. In 1862, during the Franco-Mexican War, Puebla won an important battle. France had 6,000 troops, and Mexico had 2,000. Though their army was more petite, Mexico’s victory represents the power and resilience of the Mexican people. This day is widely celebrated in the US for pride in Mexican-American culture. Whether you want to share Cinco de Mayo with your kids or have an excuse for a hot date, quite a few events are happening in Austin, TX, this week.

Photograph by Zana Carbajal at a Hispanic Heritage event in Bradenton, FL

Celebrating with Kids:

As a child, I had the privilege to travel around the world with my flight attendant mother. Hearing other languages, eating diverse food, and learning about non-American celebrations opened my mind and gave me perspective. Austin is a vibrant city with so much culture. Here are a few ways you can help your kids experience and learn about Cinco de Mayo:

  • Attend Fiesta Austin Cinco de Mayo— on May 7 from 10 am-10 pm. Go early! No cover charge from 10 am-12 pm.

  • Host a party of your own with friends or family— FluentU put together a robust list of ideas.
Photograph taken by Zana Carbajal of her son Joaquin and his friends dancing to “Un Poco Loco” from Coco

Celebrate with Adults:

We always need an excuse for a date or mom’s night out. Here are a few events happening in Austin on Cinco de Mayo that may interest you:

  • Head to The Rustic Tap— enjoy tacos, drinks, and a Selena cover band starting at 7:30 pm.
  • Make reservations at Fonda San Miguel— eat authentic Mexican food in style. Travel Channel, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today all raved about the experience at this restaurant.
  • Go to the Mexican American Cultural Center sin niños to watch the Emmy-nominated sketch group, The Latino Comedy Project, in Estar Guards: A May 4/Cinco de Mayo Comedy Fiesta. They have several dates in May. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

Now you know that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day—that’s on September 16. These suggestions provide a way to educate your children, family, and friends about the origins of this holiday. Whether you opt to learn, create, eat, drink, laugh, dance, or sing, you will surely bring the heart of Mexican culture to life. As Selena Quintanilla said, “All I need to do is try and do the best that I can do.” I’m sure your family, friends, or significant other will be happy to share time and tacos with you, mama.

Photograph taken by Zana Carbajal of her tacos at a friend’s home last Cinco de Mayo

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