Literally meaning Five of May in Spanish, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated annually on the 5th of May. This day commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.
The day is particularly significant, because the Mexicans defeated a much better equipped French army. Since the Battle of Puebla, no other European military force has subsequently invaded any country in the Americas.
While Cinco de Mayo is a public holiday in Mexico, it is a minor holiday in other parts of the world. That is, all the parts of the world except America. The USA has chosen to adopt Cinco de Mayo as their national day of celebrating anything and everything Mexican. A number of cities have specific celebrations.
In these cities you will see parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals. Schools and communities will make special banners for the day and incorporate it into the learning modules concerned with history. It is both a way for Mexicans living and working in the USA to celebrate their own culture and for them to share their culture with the citizens of the United States. These celebrations and events will typically highlight Mexican cuisine, music and traditional attire.
Traditional eats for Cinco de Mayo
While tacos are perhaps the most celebrated Mexican dish in America, there are actually a number of traditionally Mexican dishes to enjoy on the day. Perhaps you are planning to attend an event or perhaps you’re just planning to celebrate with friends. Whatever you do, these are the dishes to indulge in on the day:
The swordfish has a great flavor and this dish is easy to make. It is also light and refreshing, perfect for a late-afternoon snack with your margaritas.
Steak and beans
You don’t get more indulgent than a classic steak and black bean combination. While you could make the black beans yourself, you could also opt for the lazier (and easier) option of purchasing a tin. It will give you more time to focus on perfecting your steak.
Quesadillas with salsa
You really can’t celebrate a Mexican festival without eating these. And they are so simple to make. You take two corn tortillas, fill them with cheese on the inside and grill them. Cut like a pizza and enjoy with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Off course you can get more creative with the fillings if you want to, like adding spicy chicken or even pulled pork to give them a Western twist.
When it comes to drinks, there really is no other choice than the sweet and sour happiness that is a margarita. In its most classic form, you simply combine the tequila of your choice with lemon juice, agave syrup and ice and you shake it up. There are hundreds of interesting flavors to also try out and you can put most kinds of fruit in a margarita. As long as you have the tequila and lemon juice, you are golden.
If you are up with a bit more effort, then you can make enchiladas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year. This time you take a corn tortillas and you make a wrap with your favorite ingredients – these could be black beans, steak and cheese, or anything else you have in the fridge. Put them together in an oven dish, top with tomato sauce and cheese, and grill until perfectly bubbly.
However you choose to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year, make sure you do it with all the most delicious Mexican food you can.