10 Things You Didn’t Know About Cinco de Mayo

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With May just around the corner, it’s almost time to celebrate one of our favorite holidays, Cinco de Mayo! Grab those tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, and margaritas as well dive into some of the little-known facts about this celebration. The fifth of May is the perfect time to honor Mexican culture, which has influenced a large number of our country’s pop-culture and cuisine icons.

1. Avocados

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Guacamole, which is mashed avocados traditionally served with onions, tomatoes, chili peppers and seasoning, has become a staple at any Cinco de Mayo celebration. But how popular is it really? It is estimated that 87.3 million pounds of avocados are consumed during the holiday, which is significantly more than the Super Bowl.


2. Celebration Origins

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The first time that Cinco de Mayo was celebrated in the United States was 1863, in the state of California. Mexican immigrants living in California at the time organized it as a way to show solidarity by bonding together in the face of French dominance in the area.


3. Modern Celebrations

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Today, we often associate Cinco de Mayo with parades, battle re-enactments, speeches, and parties. Traditional military uniforms are often worn to honor classic Mexican generals, and flowing skirts and flowery hats accompany them to remember those who traveled alongside the army. Mariachi music, pinatas, fireworks, and cultural food also dominate celebrations.


4. Songs

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There are a number of songs named specifically after the holiday, including tunes sung by Rev. Horton Heat, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, and Baby Bash & Frankie J. to name a few.


5. Colors

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Although we often see depictions of the Mexican flag, not many people know the meanings of its colors. The bold red is representative of the blood of national heroes. The soft white represents unity and purity, while the bright green speaks of hope and independence. The Mexican coat of arms found at the center of the country’s flag depicts a golden eagle devouring a mythological Aztec snake.


6. Traditional Drinks

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Since Cinco de Mayo has become a major drinking holiday, it’s best to celebrate the fifth of May with traditional beverages such as margaritas, tequila, and a Corona with lime. Cinco de Mayo is the biggest day of margarita sales in the U.S., with Americans spending close to $2.9 billion during the holiday. However, skyrocketing lime prices have made the lime juice often found in the popular drink more expensive than the tequila itself.


7. Holiday Status in the U.S.

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Although Mexican immigrants have observed Cinco de Mayo in the United States since the ’60s, the first officially recognized festival is believed to have occurred 100 years later when a group of college students used the holiday to celebrate their Mexican heritage.


8. Mexican Government and Cinco de Mayo

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Unlike in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico. In fact, it is rarely celebrated outside of Puebla, Veracruz, and the U.S. Puebla and Veracruz celebrate in a similar way to Americans, with parades, festivals and reanactments.


9. Chihuahua Races

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Chandler, Arizona might just have the cutest Cinco de Mayo celebration on our list, holding chihuahua races annually and handing out holiday-themed prizes to the fastest pooches.


10. Reason for Celebrating

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Many believe that the reason for celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the first place is because of Mexican independence. However, the holiday is truly honoring Mexico’s victory in the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862. It was an unlikely victory for Mexican forces, who were heavily outnumbered by the French. The victory became a source of pride, and is the reason why we continue to celebrate today.


Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, so let us know how you plan to celebrate it in the comment section below!

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