Fun Things to do for Cinco de Mayo – Activities and Traditions

Last updated on December 15th, 2021

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and you are looking for inspiration to celebrate this festive day? From fun Cinco de Mayo-themed crafts and tasty Mexican dishes to parades and parties, there are plenty of things to do for Cinco de Mayo.

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What is Cinco de Mayo?

Most commonly observed in Mexico and the United States, Cinco De Mayo is a holiday that is celebrated every May 5th.

Many people mistake Cinco De Mayo for Mexican independence day, but that holiday is celebrated on September 16.

Cinco De Mayo commemorates the last foreign battle on North American soil and celebrates the defeat of the French against the Mexican army in Puebla.

Cinco De Mayo may be a significant holiday in the United States, but it is celebrated quietly in Mexico. The holiday is a big deal in Puebla, where the battle occurred. Since Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday, schools, work, banks, and post offices are open.

The United States celebrates the holiday with parades, parties, and dancing to mariachi music. Traditional foods such as mole poblano and tacos are served. The holiday is celebrated with big celebrations in Houston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. 

How is Cinco De Mayo Celebrated in Mexico?

Mexico is the birthplace of Cinco De Mayo, so it only makes sense that they have the best and most authentic festivals. In Puebla, the celebrations begin with a reenactment of the battle between the French and Mexican armies. After the Mexican army defeats the French army, a parade featuring over 20,000 people begins. Students, soldiers, and community members march along the parade route in brightly colored clothes while riding in fun floats. After the parade, a street festival ensues. The festivities are known to last late into the evening. 

Since Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico, there are many other things to do there. To continue your Cinco De Mayo celebrations, you can visit some of the many beautiful cathedrals and churches in Puebla. There is a museum on Baroque art and many restaurants that serve Puebla’s signature dish, mole poblano. 

Things to do for Cinco de Mayo – How to Celebrate at Home? 

Cinco De Mayo is not just a holiday for Mexicans but can be celebrated by anyone from any nationality. One way to celebrate Cinco De Mayo at home is by having a family-friendly party. A family-friendly party is a great, safe way to celebrate the day. Some ways to celebrate the day include the following. 

Make a do-it-yourself piñata 

A piñata is a decorated paper mache animal usually filled with candy or toys. The pinata is suspended by string, and the blindfolded children swing at the piñata with a stick and do their best to try and knock it down.

Piñatas are colorful decorations that are sure to add to the atmosphere of your party. The ingredients needed to make your pinata are:

  • Equal parts water and flour, combined. 
  • One balloon, blown up. 
  • Torn up newspapers. 

Recipe:

  1. Dip the torn-up newspaper into the flour and water paste. Shake off any excess paste back into the mixture. 
  2. Put the strip of newspaper on the balloon. Complete this step until the balloon is covered about four layers deep. 
  3. Leave the top of the balloon uncovered to insert candy. 
  4. Let sit and dry for at least twenty-four hours. 
  5. Pop the balloon and decorate your pinata. Typical decorations for pinatas include tissue paper, felt, and twine to hang. 

Make Maracas

If you have little ones at home, homemade maracas are a fun craft to make.

Making maracas at home is a super easy and fun activity to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. To make maracas, all you need is: 

  • Rice
  • Plastic Spoons 
  • Plastic Easter Egg
  • Painters tape 

Recipe:

  1. Pour rice into the plastic egg.
  2. Tape seam of the egg together, 
  3. Place the rice-filled egg between two plastic spoons and wrap them with the painter’s tape. 
  4. Take the handles of the spoons together as well. 
  5. Shake your maraca to make Mexican music! 

Teach your children about Mexico and Mexican history

Cinco De Mayo is the perfect day to teach little ones Mexican History. There are many different ways you can do this. You can use the internet to go on a virtual tour of Mexico.

Also, you can read children’s books celebrating Mexican culture and Cinco De Mayo. Great children’s books to read to celebrate this day are: 

  1. Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza and illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez 
  2. Cinco De Mouse-o by Judy Cox and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
  3. Marco’s Cinco de Mayo by Lisa Bullard and illustrated by Holli Conger.
  4. Frida Kahlo: A Kid’s Book About Expressing Yourself Through Art by Mary Nhin and illustrated by Yuliia Zolotova 

Make a traditional Mexican dish

You can make classic Mexican cuisine like tacos or quesadillas. If you really want to surprise your family with a traditional Mexican entree, then try cooking Mole Poblano. Mole Poblano is a thick sauce made with chili, fruit, meat, and seeds. There is even Mexican chocolate added to the dish. 

Mole poblano has a consistency similar to gravy or sauce and is usually cooked with meat. Chicken is the most popular choice of meat in a Mole Poblano dish. There is a very small hint of chocolate, but it is not an overwhelming flavor. Mole poblano is native to the Puebla region of Mexico. 

Mexican folklore says the dish was invented by a nun who was eagerly awaiting a visit from the Mexican archbishop of Puebla. The plate is generally made by frying the ingredients in oil. After the ingredients are fried, they simmer in a large pot with water or broth. 

Follow up dinner with a delicious dessert

Flan is a traditional Mexican dessert that is served on Cinco De Mayo. This traditional Mexican dessert should have a smooth and creamy consistency. Flan also should have a sweet, rich, golden caramel sauce. There should not be any hints of burntness to your Flan as that will ruin the flavor of this delicious dish.  

The ingredients you will need to make homemade Flan are: 

  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 3 Eggs 
  • 14 Oz Can Sweetened Milk 
  • 12 Oz Can Evaporated Milk 
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract 

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Melt sugar in a pan on medium to low heat. Melt until the sugar is a liquified, golden brown. 
  3. Pour the mixture into a glass baking dish, making sure to coat all sides. 
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the three eggs, evaporated milk, sweetened milk, and vanilla until smooth. 
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 60 minutes. 
  6. When done, allow the Flan to cool. Then, invert onto a serving plate and enjoy!

Concoct a traditional Mexican non-alcoholic beverage

The first drinks that come to mind when you think of Mexico are probably Margarita’s and Tequilas. However, one of the most popular drinks in Mexico is a non-alcoholic beverage called Agua fresca. Agua fresca is a light fruit drink that is popular throughout Mexico. It is an easy drink to make as it requires you to blend fruit with water. Recommended fruit for aqua Fresca are: 

  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Melon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumber with mint

You will also need ½ medium lime for the juice and a sweetener of your choice. The recipe for agua fresca is: 

  1. Combine 1 cup of fruit, 1 cup of water, ½ medium lime juice, and one teaspoon of your sweetener of choice. Depending on when your fruit is ripe, you may not need a sweetener.
  2. Blend the ingredients until smooth. 
  3. Once blended sufficiently, serve immediately over ice. 

Join a festival or local event

Cinco De Mayo is not exclusive to Mexico. It is a holiday that is celebrated throughout America. From Los Angeles to New York, Cinco De Mayo festivals are abundant – make sure to check if your city is organizing something this year.

Cinco de Mayo festival

The following list lists how Cinco De Mayo is celebrated in the United States and the most popular festivals. 

  • New York 

The 116th street festival in New York is the largest in the city. It is a free event not just for Mexicans but for all nationalities. Music, street food, and dancing are available. You can find street foods like tacos and street corn at this festival. There is also a stage where Mexican stories and folklore are shared. 

  • Orlando

In Orlando, Cinco De Mayo is celebrated by locals in the Mexican pavilion at Epcot in Walt Disney World. There are three restaurants, two tequila bars, an attraction, and gift shops filled with Mexican memorabilia in the Mexican pavilion. Taking your children to Epcot to celebrate Cinco De Mayo is an excellent idea because it will give children a fun learning experience. The adults can also have fun at the pavilion’s two tequila and margarita bars. 

  • Chicago

One of the biggest and best Cinco De Mayo festivals is in Chicago, Illinois. The Cinco De Mayo parade is the highlight of the day’s events, but there is so much more fun to be had. The annual festival takes place in Douglas Park. There is live music, food, drinks, and crafts for sale. 

Over in Toyota Park, there is another family-friendly festival going on. The activities at this event include carnival rides and arts and crafts for children. The Duet Dance Studio in Chicago also offers a dance party. You can find people dancing salsa, cha-cha, merengue, and bachata in the streets.

  • Los Angeles 

Over in Los Angeles at the Mayan Theater, you can find “Lucha Va Voom Cinco De Mayo.” This is a performance of masked acrobats who perform wrestling acts and burlesque dancing.

There is also a food-focused festival that takes place in Los Angeles. The Taco Madness festival is located at the LA Plaza. This event has Mexican cooking demos, music, dancing, and serves Mexican beers and margaritas.  

Conclusion

Cinco De Mayo is a fun, festive holiday that celebrates the day the Mexican army beat the French army in Puebla, Mexico. Although a Mexican holiday, Cinco De Mayo is widely celebrated in the United States. There are various festivals throughout the country that feature parades, dancing, and delicious Mexican cuisine. 

In Mexico, the celebrations are quieter with many residents visiting the site of the battle in the morning and having small festivals throughout the day. There are also many ways to celebrate while at home. You can cook traditional Mexican entrees or make homemade pinatas. 

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Things to do for Cinco de Mayo