Cinco De Mayo is one of the world’s best known celebrations, but there is some confusion over its origins. It is widely believed Cinco De Mayo celebrates Mexican Independence but this is actually observed annually on 16th September. Cinco De Mayo marks the anniversary of a significant battle between the occupying French army, lead by Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, Napoleon III, and a small untrained brigade of Mexican civilians. The climactic battle between the two nations took place in a small colonial city called Puebla, located in the foothills of the Popocatépetl volcano, two hours from Mexico City.
Cinco De Mayo translates to ‘Fifth of May’ - the date of the hard-fought clash in 1862. This date is the source of much pride and joy for Mexicans, even centuries later. The small Mexican platoon, lead by General Ignacio Zaragoza, were under-equipped and outnumbered, but with resilience and determination they were able to defend their homeland and expel the French army for good. After the Spartan-like victory, morale was high in Mexico and the president declared the Fifth of May a national holiday. Centuries later, Cinco De Mayo is one of Mexico’s biggest celebrations, with lavish parties and merriment sweeping Mexico and parts of America.
Cinco De Mayo combines historical significance with Mexico’s renowned party ambience, including food, drinks and dancing. The hallmark of any Cinco De Mayo celebration is mariachi music, hearty Mexican fare and expertly crafted margaritas. Across Mexico, the festivities incorporate dance, costume, theatre, concerts and fun fairs, but the American branch of revelry is far more creative and varied.
For thirty-four years, San Diego has embraced its Mexican influences by hosting a free ‘fiesta’ in the Old Town. Taking place over three days (5th – 7th May) this exceptional event attracts over 100,000 people, with three stages hosting over forty bands of different genres, but predominantly showcasing Latin flare. A mini marketplace is home to a vast range of stalls and food vendors, offering a tempting variety of burritos, tacos, enchiladas, nachos, fajitas and more! You can also enjoy margarita and tequila-tasting, games and specialist shops selling Mexican-inspired gifts, jewellery and keepsakes. For families, the face-painting, competitions and interactive experiences are a perfect way to celebrate this colourful cultural event!
Miami is famed for its bustling party scene, so you can expect Cinco De Mayo to be a hot topic in the Sunshine State. Miami’s Latina influence is a proud aspect of the Magic City’s heritage, and Cinco de Mayo provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate Mexican history with gusto. At South Beach, there is an annual street party that takes over Espanola Way from 6pm. Salsa dance at sunset or don a sombero as you sip a flavoured margarita cocktail. There’s, quite literally, dancing in the street and live music late into the night, as one of Miami’s most picturesque settings becomes a mini-Mexico. South Beach is home to a captivating culinary scene and the Cinco De Mayo celebrations add extra spice to every menu. Each eatery along Espanola Way will recognise this annual event in a variety of ways including, piῇata games, free churros and even food trucks. For a more grown-up celebration you can taste a selection of tequilas and test your tastebuds by trying the spiciest salsas.
As recently as the 19th Century, Arizona was part of northern Mexico, but the Mexican-American War caused territories to be divided and in later years modern states, such as Texas and Arizona, were reclaimed as American land. However, to this day Arizona retains its Mexican heritage and passionately celebrates Cinco De Mayo. In Scottsdale, the celebrations are a feast of food and high-energy fun. Downtown Scottsdale is the destination for flavoursome fajitas and delicious delights with a backdrop of live music and some bars even offer ‘Cinco De Drinko’ – a Mexican-style happy hour! You’ll find the tequila flowing and generous portions of food at every turn, but be sure to save room for a tequila-infused cupcake – a local speciality.
Of course, there is no better place to celebrate Cinco De Mayo than in Mexico itself and our inviting array of luxury hotels are the ideal setting for revelry and relaxation. Fortunately, all of our five-star Mexican hotels boast exemplary spa facilities to ensure you can detox after the margaritas and enchiladas. With temperatures in Mexico getting warmer every month, this is the ideal time to plan your perfect luxury holiday to this most rewarding destination.
For further information about any of our featured luxury destinations, or to plan your Cinco De Mayo celebrations, please call one of our expert Travel Consultants on 01244 897 991.