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Cinco Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

cinco de mayo

Known in Mexico as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the unprecedented victory over the French army during the famous battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexico was vastly outnumbered by approximately 4,000 well-equipped French soldiers, but under the leadership of Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín they had victory over an army that was undefeated for nearly 50 years. Often mistaken for the celebration of Independence Day (which is actually on September 16), Cinco de Mayo is a holiday of pride and praise of Mexico’s culture, history and heritage. Celebrate the day with any of these five suggestions that will have you eating and dancing your way through this Mexican holiday.

La Gran Tardeada
Saturday, May 2, 11am-6pm, UC Davis Outdoor West Quad (behind Memorial Union). This 46th annual free event organized by students and Latino(a), Chicano(a) campus groups provides students, families and all present with a pleasant event. Aztec, samba and Brazilian performers will spread the latin beat at La Gran Tardeada while children get to have fun participating in children’s activities, a bounce house and piñatas. Attendees can also enjoy the beautiful, traditional sound of Mexican mariachi.

Cinco Denio’s
Sunday, May 3, 10am-2pm, Denio’s Market, Roseville. Add a Cinco de Mayo twist to your Sunday shopping at Cinco Denio’s! Attend this free 3rd annual event for a low-rider car show, live music and authentic Mexican food. And don’t forget your dancing shoes because traditional folklorico dancing and mariachi bands will be playing. Handmade sweets and fresh produce will also be available.

Fiesta en la Calle (Cinco de Mayo Festival)
Sunday, May 3, 12pm-6pm, Southside Park (2115 6th St, Sacramento). Immerse yourself in Mexican tradition at one of Sacramento’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Fiesta en la Calle is a free festival filled with entertainment for all whether you enjoy food, music or dancing. A variety of musical performances include legendary band El Chicano and a tribute to the Tejando legend Selena by Dinorah and Crosswinds. A classic car show and art will be out for display and Aztec, salsa and folklorico dance performances will add to the Latin vibe of the festival.

Tequila and Dine
Not everyone enjoys big crowds in warm weather, but that shouldn’t hinder opportunities for celebrating this holiday. Pick up some Margarita Mix and Coronas or Cazadores tequila and put on some Vicente Fernandez or watch a classic film. Legendary actors adored by the Mexican community include Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante, Maria Felix and comedies by Cantinflas. Or you can visit your favorite authentic Mexican restaurant and enjoy a savory, traditional plate. Top Mexican restaurants in Sacramento include Zocalo Midtown, Rey Azteca and Tres Hermanos—all of which will celebrate Cinco de Mayo in their own unique way with live music, food specials and other events.

Throw your own Mexican party with friends and family
Create your own party by having an outdoor gathering in your backyard or at a park. Mexican tradition is in favor of carne asada (beef steak) accompanied by tortillas, guacamole, beans and rice being present at family gatherings. Or up the ante (and the labor) with authentic favorite dishes such as mole, a dish composed of meat doused in a savory sauce of chile, chocolate, flour and cinnamon. Hiring a mariachi band or other Mexican musical group can be affordable and enjoyable, especially if friends and family pitch in. Piñatas for the kids and loteria (similar to Bingo) along with traditional treats like arroz con leche (rice pudding), flan and mangonadas (combination of mango ice cream, candy and mango cubes) make for a sweet, fun Cinco de Mayo.

Photo: Folklorico dancing by Mark/CC Flickr

About the author

Liliana Nava

Liliana Nava is a University of California, Davis alumni with a B.A. in Communications and English. She is an aspiring journalist that loves interacting with people, writing, apes, Cosmopolitan and bubbles. She strives to provide readers with the utmost professional, comprehensive and reliable information encompassing the Sacramento region.

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