May has arrived and as we look towards Summer, we also pause to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.¬† Cinco de Mayo (May 5) celebrates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla (1862).¬† The French army invaded Mexico in an attempt to expand the French empire and used the outstanding Mexican debt as the open door to do so.¬† Mexico had gained independence from Spain just 41 years prior and was still in considerable debt to several countries.¬† Despite being outnumbered, poorly organized and significantly outgunned, the Mexican militia was victorious in the battle.¬† This was substantial, as the French army was highly regarded at the time.¬† It was indeed something to be proud of!¬† Although this victory did not signify the end of the French invasion, no other European military force has attempted to invade North America since.
To this day, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans alike share in celebrating the Mexican militia victory in the Battle of Puebla.¬† Current day celebrations focus on Mexican heritage, food and music. ¬†¬†Such celebrations can be found scattered throughout Mexico and the United States.¬† Adults break into song and dance with maracas and may participate in mariachi bands.¬† You‚Äôll find the Mexican flag colors (red, white and green) prominent in d√©cor.¬† Parades and reenactments are held in honor of Cinco de Mayo.
Check with your local groups on base or heritage clubs to see what events may be planned.¬† If nothing strikes your fancy, consider having a celebration at home!¬† Many families hold a feast to celebrate, complete with traditional dishes such as enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tortillas and salsa. ¬†Invite some friends over for a taco bar!¬† Turn up some music or make some of your own!¬† Both pi√±atas and maracas can be made at home ahead of time with relative ease, providing a fun craft experience for children as they learn more about the Battle and Mexican heritage.¬† As the adults enjoy the feast and time together with friends and family, the children can celebrate too as they take a swing at a homemade pi√±ata!
Mix up the horchatas for the chicos and pour yourself a margarita!¬† It‚Äôs time to celebrate the brave 4,500 who fought for their country!