Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_MayoCinco de Mayo translates to 'the 5th of May'. It is a celebration of victory of the mexican army over the french in the battle of Puebla in 1862. This would also be the last time that european forces have invaded the Americas.
In Mexico, people celebrate traditional customs and put on parades, recreations of the battle, and other festivities. It is not a federal holiday, so their banks and most stores remain open. The holiday is more celebrated in the United States than in Mexico.
Many people believe that this is the Mexican Independence day, but it isn't. Independence day is celebrated on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is also celebrated in some parts of the United States, especially along border towns.
Los Angeles hosts the largest world wide Cinco de Mayo celebration, called the Festival de Fiesta Broadway. This year the Festival de Fiesta Broadway will be held on Sunday, April 29th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be the 23rd annual festival and is the largest latino event and will take up several blocks. The festival includes food, music, games, competitions, and it is free.
Chandler, Arizona also hosts a celebration. Races and beauty pageants for Chihuahuas take place at this event. There is also a chihuahua parade, and a male and female dog are chosen as 'king' and 'queen'.
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_MayoAtlanta, GA will celebrate this year on May 6th, 2012 at Centennial Olympic Park. This will be the 6th annual festival and features live music, folk dancing, arts & crafts, food, youth soccer clinics, and a 5k race. Several musical artists will perform on two stages. The festivities are from 10 am to 7 pm, and admission is free. This year they have again joined with the Atlanta Jazz festival and will feature international and local artists.
Chicago, Il will celebrate Cinco de Mayo May 4th through May 6th. The festival consists of a parade, live music, food vendors, rides, and games. Over 100,000 guests attend this event celebrating hispanic culture.
Fort Collins, Colorado also holds an event. This year's musical guest is Shelly Lares on May 4th. The festival is a three day event and includes live music, rides, inflatables, pony rides, skateboarding, football, dodgeball tournament, soccer, zumba, dance, and aikido. Vendors include arts and crafts, food, and various exhibits. A 5k run/walk is held to raise money for student scholarships. Fort Collins has celebrated Cinco de Mayo for more than thirty years.
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SombreroSome choose to throw a party to celebrate the holiday. From invitations to decorations there are plenty of ways to get creative. Some ideas for party decorations include sombrero's, paper flowers, hot chili's, cactus, maracas, and pinatas. Food ideas are tacos, fajitas, chili con queso, rice, and salsa. And don't forget the margaritas! Add dancing with some latin music, or play limbo.
Many local bars or mexican restaurants will host a celebration during this time. Some will have specials, live music, or some other type of event. Bars are typically more crowded than usual on this day, as more people gather together for Cinco de Mayo. Be sure to check for places in your area for things to do on this day. Have fun, and drink responsibly!