You have no idea how touchy my Chilango (i.e. Mexico City born and raised) husband got when I told him I wanted the three of us to actually celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year. Why would a Mexican not want to celebrate a Mexican holiday? Well, because this is a holiday that, truth be told, has become very commercial – like most every other holiday – and, thus, has lost it’s true meaning. Aside from the fact that this isn’t even an official holiday in Mexico. It’s really just a page in their history book.
Cinco de Mayo is not the date of the Mexican Independence, as many believe. That would be September 16th – the most honored and celebrated day in México. So, why is Cinco de Mayo such an important and festive date in the U.S.? What did happen on May 5th, 1862? This is the date that a meager but mighty Mexican army defeated the glorious French invaders in the Battle of Puebla. For Mexicans living on this side of the border it has become symbolic of their nationalism and heritage. It has become the day to celebrate and have pride in anything Mexican: food, drinks, music, dance, traditions.
I want Camila to be in touch with her various roots as much as possible. This is one opportunity for her to feel the heart of México lindo y querido that I’m not going to pass up. We will go to the fiestas, drink horchatas, eat chile in all its forms, sing out loud to all the nostalgic mariachi songs and celebrate the country we adore.
My husband now gets that our daughter is being raised here, in this melting pot of a society, where we all hold on to our cultures the best way we can. And that a celebration sponsored by X-brand of tequila can’t be that bad after all!
Watch this video to learn and teach your children more about the history of Cinco de Mayo:
Check out these sites with some great Cinco de Mayo activities to do with kids:
School Family-Cinco de Mayo worksheets
Apples4theTeacher–Cinco de Mayo Activities – Mexico Games, coloring pages, crafts for kids, word searches
Foreign Language Fun–Resources for teaching Spanish learners about Cinco de Mayo
Links to ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo:
The Huffington Post–5 Fun Ways to Celebrate