For several years, the Golden Coast has cracked ice-cold Coronas and tossed carne on the grill in honor of the festive holiday Cinco de Mayo. Honoring the Chicano Rights Movement that took place during the 1960s and 1970s in the U.S. (and specifically in California), it is a day of remembrance, celebration, and indulgence–the hazier, the better.
I’m sure you’ve heard we’re all stuck inside for now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still pay homage to Cinco de Mayo and the rich Mexican-Californian history behind it. This special edition of Monday Munchies comes with discussion and dessert, designed to provide you with all of the background you need to have a fulfilling Cinco de Mayo at home.
Although celebrated widely, there are many misconceptions surrounding Cinco de Mayo–such as it being Mexico’s version of Independence Day (it’s not). Here are five facts about Cinco de Mayo that will bring you a greater understanding of the holiday, all while keeping it 420:
1. The Real Origin of Cinco de Mayo
Many people believe Cinco de Mayo to be Mexico’s Independence Day, but that isn’t the case. Cinco de Mayo began as a commemoration of Mexico’s victory against France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War of 1861-1867. Throughout the years of battle conflict, Mexicans continued to celebrate May 5th in hopes of what would become their victory and independence from French aristocracy in Mexico.
2. Cinco de Mayo is not nationally celebrated in Mexico, but it is in the U.S.
While Cinco de Mayo is no longer recognized in Mexico as a national holiday, the tradition was carried to the United States by Mexican immigrants and used as both a way to celebrate Mexican-American culture and advocate for Chicano rights, mainly throughout California. It has since become an official U.S. national holiday, as declared by Congress in 2005.
3. The largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world takes place in Los Angeles.
The Festival de Fiesta Broadway is an annual event held in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Chicano/Latinx heritage in the U.S. Over 600,000 people attend each year. While those 600,000 people will be on their couches this time around, the spirit and remembrance of past celebrations lives!
4. Cinco de Mayo celebrations aren’t complete without the presence of Mexico’s traditional folk dance.
Baile folklórico is a folkloric dance that was introduced to Mexico in the early 1800s. It was later fully embraced by Mexican culture with the opening of Mexican ballet choreographer Amalia Hernandez’s baile folklórico school in the 1950s. The dance features graceful, balletic movements accompanied by bright, layered dresses and skirts and mariachi music.
5. Getting hungry?
Time to feast on some mole poblano, a traditional Pueblan dish that is often enjoyed on CInco de Mayo. From a savory chocolate version to a refreshing combination of chiles and fruits, mole comes in many different forms and can be enjoyable to a variety of palates.
Eager to enjoy this versatile dish but no idea how to make it? No problem–with these Seamless options in San Francisco, LA and SD, you can indulge in some mole while supporting local restaurants in these trying times.
After all that learning and mole sampling, it’s high time to wrap up our Cinco de Mayo tribute with a sweet and green treat: like these Mexican chocolate & pepitas clusters by Atlas. This crunchy blend of sugar and indica is the perfect way to top off your holiday.
¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Licenses: 1. Atlas CDPH-10001996