Friends, you know what’s about to happen, don’t you? I’m going to make you feel like you’re in school prepping for a test instead of preparing to throw a Mexican culture Cinco de Mayo party. I’ve done it on Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine’s Day... Actually, that one was kind of fun, we got to sacrifice goats.
Anyway, I like to learn, and I enjoy throwing in a little cultural significance to my holiday parties. But you know what? I think this actually makes sense for Cinco de Mayo. Everyone knows it’s more of an American holiday than a Mexican one at this point. Should we keep pretending we care about that long ago battle, or should we accept that the 5th of May is really a cultural celebration of our neighbors to the south? I’ll leave that up to you, but hopefully you can use these ideas either way.
A Brief History of Cinco de Mayo Celebrations
So, real fast, if you aren’t aware, Cinco de Mayo isn’t that big a deal in Mexico. It’s pretty low-key. I think a lot of Americans equate it with our Fourth of July, but think of Cinco de Mayo as more of a Veteran’s Day to our Independence Day. Not that it celebrates veterans; it’s just a more casual celebration. They actually got their independence in September. The May date reflects the Battle of Puebla, which was fought between the Mexican and French in 1862. It didn’t end a war or anything, but the Mexicans won and it boosted morale.
Well, if you’re a fan of US history, you know we had a little war of our own going on during that time. Those French forces would have been coming to help out the Confederates, but they got detained, so yada yada yada, Union wins. As early as 1863 Californians were celebrating Cinco de Mayo, and by the 1960s Mexican Americans had really taken it for their own to show cultural pride. Then the rest of us Americans got on board since we will take literally any excuse to party, and here we are. Now, if you want to go all out and recreate that battle go ahead. Otherwise, here are some other ideas for your Mexican culture Cinco de Mayo party.
Ideas for a Mexican Culture Cinco de Mayo Party
1. Speak a little espanol.
Do you speak any Spanish? If not, today’s the day you start! I personally love a good Spanish telenovela (true story), and if you want to keep the drinking to a maximum, this is the way to go. Try a telenovela drinking game like this one. Believe it or not, TV is a really great way to learn a new language, particularly soap operas due to their repetition. So, if you decide to try this, skip the drinking but keep on watching long after the holiday is over and you might find yourself fluent. If you’re not a drinker, you can get yourself a new Spanish language app or try teaching the kids a few words in Spanish. By the way, I apologize that I don’t know how to do Spanish on my laptop keyboard. I know that n up there is wrong.
2. Take a stand.
Hey, did you guys know the political climate regarding immigration to the US is somewhat contentious right now? Say what?! Okay, sarcasm over. I do have some tips to deal with political conversations at parties, but for a Mexican culture Cinco do Mayo party, I say bring it on. I saw this party online where the guests had to prepare a PowerPoint presentation, and I have been trying to work this into a party of mine ever since. Why not have a tongue-in-cheek competition where you suggest the best way to smuggle avocados over the border wall? The sturdiest items to build said wall with? Don’t want to offend or run the risk of being offended? Have kids attending the party? You could actually task everyone with teaching one fact about Mexico, whether it be about their tequila, their vacation destinations, or a cold hard fact like their main export.
3. Eat something new.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Mexican food, but I definitely have a different definition of good Mexican food than most of my east coast friends. I guess that’s normal. You know what else is normal? Eating your favorite Mexican dish over and over and not realizing how many delightful recipes you’re missing out on. Instead of ordering two cheese enchiladas this Cinco de Mayo, try something with mole sauce. Doing the cooking yourself? Peruse Epicurious for Mexican recipes and try something you’ve never heard of but looks delicious. If it’s a big party, try it potluck style and have everyone bring something new to try.
4. Go ahead and drink – but skip the margaritas.
I have no beef with margaritas, but they hardly espouse the Mexican culture. If you’re going to have a Mexican culture Cinco de Mayo party, you might as well do it right. You can drink margaritas if you want, but you should also check out Mexican beers or, yes, tequila and other cocktails. Mexican beer imports are actually pretty thriving here in the US. Corona might not be for you, but check out Modelo, Pacifico, or Dos Equis for easy finds. As for tequila, pick something you can enjoy without the lime. Follow these rules to drinking tequila and you might find yourself enjoying the taste instead of using it as a way to forget that terrible powerpoint presentation you gave earlier.
Well, those are my ideas for a Mexican culture Cinco de Mayo party. I hope you have a blast, and manage to appreciate the Mexican culture you’re celebrating. If you have some even better ideas, please leave them in the comments so we can all enjoy!