Cinco de Mayo involves much more than just pouring another Margarita, especially for families with children. Celebrate the Mexican holiday with kids by sharing some fun facts, plus its history and traditions. In addition, there are many 2013 Cinco de Mayo events in Atlanta to get your family into the spirit of the holiday. The largest one is Fiesta Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park.
Cinco de Mayo fun facts
- Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a much larger scale in the United States than in Mexico.
- Chicanos celebrate this day in appreciation of Mexico’s culture.
- General Ignacio Zaragoza was born in Texas when it was still part of Mexico and is considered to be a Chicano hero.
- Cinco de Mayo is often confused with the Mexican Independence Day, which occurred on September 16, 1810, about 50 years earlier.
- Cinco de Mayo is one of more than 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent.
- The holiday was popularized in the U.S. in part by Chicano activists in the 1960’s and 1970’s who identified with the Mexican Indian and mestizo soldiers’ triumph over European conquest attempts.
- The Festival de Fiesta Broadway in Los Angeles is the world’s largest Cinco de Mayo event. More than 600,000 gather to celebrate with food and music each year.
- Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
- Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city and where the Mexican Hat Dance, sombreros and mariachi music originated.
- Mexico’s capital, Mexico City (one of the world’s largest cities) is sinking. Some of its buildings are sinking by as much as 4 to 12 inches a year. The city was once an Aztec capital on an island surrounded by a shallow lake. When the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes captured the city, he drained the lake. Today, Mexico City rests on soft land that continues to sink.
Cinco de Mayo history
According to History.com, the fifth of May, or Cinco de Mayo in Spanish, is a national holiday in Mexico, although it is generally celebrated in Mexican-American communities in the U.S. on a much larger scale. It commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. A small, poorly armed force of around 4,500 soldiers defeated the French invasion of a well-armed, professional army led by Napoleon III that had about 8,000 soldiers. The battle lasted for four hours and ended in victory for the small Mexican army led by General Ignacio Zaragoza. So, Cinco de Mayo is hugely celebrated with pomp, gaiety and fiestas in the traditional Mexican style.
Cinco de Mayo traditions
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with festivals and fiestas. Parades include marchers dressed as French and Mexican generals with soldiers following, armed like the original freedom fighters with machetes and old-fashioned rifles. Paraders wearing skirts and flowery hats represent the women (soldaderos) who traveled with the army to cook and care for the men. Those portraying French soldiers carry knapsacks with wine bottles sticking out of them.
At mid-afternoon the “battle” begins in the plaza. Rifles and cannon roar, there is much smoke and shouting, and at nightfall, the Mexican and French generals meet face-to-face for a sword battle. The Mexican general, of course, wins.
Fiestas also include speeches by government officials, games and lively dances, mariachi music, traditional food, and colorful Cinco de Mayo decorations. At night, there are piñatas for the children and fireworks. People wear clothes of red and green, the colors of the Mexican flag.
Cinco de Mayo 2013 events in Atlanta
Fiesta Atlanta: Celebrate the 7th annual Fiesta Atlanta on Sunday May 5, 2013 at Centennial Olympic Park in the heart of Atlanta. Fiesta Atlanta is a daylong Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring international, national and local recording artists, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, a 5K race, youth soccer clinics, sponsor displays with free product samples, arts and crafts and authentic international foods.
Most Cinco de Mayo parties in Atlanta involve spicy Mexican food and ice cold Margaritas. If you can find a babysitter, head out with the hubby for an evening of fun and food. Access Atlanta lists all the 2013 Cinco de Mayo events and happenings in Atlanta and the burbs, including pub crawls and more.
Free Cinco de Mayo printables, recipes and activities for kids
The Internet is a wonderful resource for free Cinco de Mayo printables for kids. Below are some of the best.
- Kaboose.com: Choose from word puzzles, games, crafts and coloring pages to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at home.
- Apples 4 the Teacher: This educational website offers challenging word searches, word jumbles and more – all with a festive Cinco de Mayo theme.
- DLTK: Mexican-themed activities for kids include a song sheet, coloring pages, word searches and several great craft ideas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
- Education.com: Choose from free Cinco de Mayo coloring pages for different age groups: preschool, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades.
- Disney’s Family Fun: This family-friendly website includes crafts and printables, plus recipe ideas and so much more for Cinco de Mayo.
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