It’s Cinco de Mayo time and festivities are planned across the US. But in Mexico, not so much

(AP) — The United States is gearing up for Cinco de Mayo. Music, all-day happy hours and taco deals are planned at locations across the country on Sunday, May 5, during a celebration with widely misunderstood origins that are barely recognized south of the border.

In the US, the date is largely seen as a celebration of Mexican American culture dating back to the 19th century in California. Typical festivities include parades, street food, block parties, mariachi competitions, and baile folklórico, or folkloric dance, with swirling dancers wearing shiny ribbons with braids and bright, ruffled dresses.

For Americans with or without Mexican heritage, the day has become an excuse to down tequila shots with salt and lime and tuck into tortilla chips smothered with melted orange cheddar, something unknown to most people in Mexico.

The focus on drinking and eating has led to some criticism of the holiday, especially as beer companies and other marketers have capitalized on its festive nature and some revelers embrace offensive stereotypes such as fake, drooping mustaches and giant straw sombreros.


Cinco de Mayo marks the anniversary of Mexican forces’ victory over invading French forces in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. The victory over the better equipped and more numerous French troops was a huge emotional boost for the Mexican soldiers led by General Ignacio Zaragoza.

Historical reenactments and parades are held annually in the city of Puebla in central Mexico to commemorate the inspiring victory, with participants dressed in historic French and Mexican army uniforms.


Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, Mexico’s most important holiday.

Mexicans celebrate their country’s independence from Spain on the anniversary of the call to arms against the European country, issued on September 16, 1810, by the Rev. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest in Dolores, Mexico.

The Mexican president reenacts el Grito de Independencia, or the Call of Independence, most years on September 15 around 11 p.m. from the balcony of the country’s National Palace as Hidalgo rang the bell.

The commemoration usually ends with three cries of “¡Viva México!” above a colorful swirl of tens of thousands of people crowding the Zócalo, the main square, in central Mexico City.


May 5 falls on a Sunday this year, an ideal day for many people to relax and enjoy the day. Celebrations are planned across the country, especially in places with large Mexican American populations.

Among the festivities In California, San Jose will host a parade and festival with live music, dancers and lowrider cars, while in San Francisco there will be a festival in District Six.

An outdoor market in El Paso, Texas, will feature a car show, vendors and live music from Krystall Poppin, Ka$h Go Crazy and 2 Sexy Ashley.

In New Orleans, there will be celebrations Saturday and Sunday at Fat City Park, with two stages and eight bands, and a taco eating contest.

Across the country, bars and restaurants promote their Mexican dishes and special offers, including all-day happy hours. For something a little different, New York even has a floating Mexican restaurant on a yacht cruising the Hudson River.