Just as St. Patrick's Day is celebrated more widely and enthusiastically in the U.S. than in Ireland, so is the exuberance for Cinco de Mayo here vs. in Mexico. In fact, a quick search of "Cinco de Mayo Mexico" yields the surprising fact that the holiday, meaning the Fifth of May, is mainly observed and celebrated in Puebla, a state in the central area of southern Mexico whose capital, and main city, is also called Puebla.
So why is Cinco de Mayo celebrated? After all, Mexican Independence Day (Dia de la Independencia) is September 16.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While a significant day in Puebla — then-Mexican President Benito Juarez declared the battle should be celebrated each year on May 5 — Mexican-Americans in the United States began using the day as well to highlight Mexican identity, food, and culture. Today, about 11% of the U.S. population is Mexican Amercan, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Cinco de Mayo is more celebrated than ever.
Sunday, May 5, 2019 marks the 157th Cinco de Mayo. Here are a few of our favorite events and celebrations across the U.S.
A family friendly celebration is planned at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, home of world-famous Olvera Street. The weekend-long event runs May 4 and 5, and features free live musical entertainment.
This city has a special affinity for Cinco de Mayo as Benito Juarez, the Mexican president at the time of the Battle of Puebla, spent time in New Orleans in exile prior to his presidency. If you happen to be in the area, check out Casa Borrega, which hosts an annual Cinco de Mayo street party with food, drinks, and live music.
For a free, family event, head downtown for the annual Cinco de Mayo Parade from 10 a.m. to noon. The parade features dancers, musicians, as well as elected officials and memebers of the community.
Celebrate Mexican culture starting with a family-friendly parade on Saturday at 11 a.m. in downtown's Civic Center Park. Then, enjoy two full days of music, folkloric dancing, food, and events — including a taco-eating contest and chihuahua races!
This city gets the party started early on Friday, May 3 — running through Sunday, May 5 — with music, entertainment, food, and exhibitions. Take a stroll down "Lowrider Lane" and cast a vote for your favorite beautifully crafted car. And be sure to take in a Lucha Libre match, which is Mexican freestyle wrestling marked by colorful masks.
The Windy City hosts parades for pretty much every cultural celebration, and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. On Sunday, May 5 at noon, hit the official city parade in the Little Village neighborhood. Afterwards, head out to one of Chicago's many Mexican restaurants, or go to the National Musueum of Mexican Art in the Pilsen neighborhood.