This Friday, many people in the United States will celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It’s a great day to share and celebrate Mexican-American culture, and we want to help you celebrate the right way.

That means brushing up on your Mexican history and understanding what exactly Cinco de Mayo is all about. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day (which is celebrated on September 16th.) It is actually a celebration to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

In the United States, the holiday is often used as an excuse to drink bottomless margaritas and experiment with one’s limited knowledge of the Spanish language. However, in the spirit of being happy and healthy, and appreciating different cultures, we’ve got a few alternate plans for you this fifth of May.

Do some reading

Reading is always great for keeping the mind active and healthy. It’s also a great way to add to the wealth of knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years. Instead of going straight to Facebook, try spending your time on the internet delving deeper into the roots of Cinco de Mayo and general Mexican history. You might learn some new stuff or come across fun facts!

Turn up the music and dance

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting your groove on and burning a few calories. Listen to some of Mexico’s most popular music and get down with friends and family. If you know of any local mariachi bands that are happy to share their music during the holiday, head on over to the concert! Just be sure to leave the sombreros and ponchos at home.

Have a pARTy

If you’re a museum junky, there are sure to be exhibitions featuring Mexican artists (and not just Diego Rivera) or historical artifacts. Feel free to go solo or with a group, but it’s a low-key way to appreciate Mexican culture. You can find local listings near you on the internet or in the paper, so take a look and grab a ticket!

Eat and enjoy

Cooking is always a fun activity, especially when it’s followed by eating. There are definitely traditional Mexican dishes that we’ve become familiar with and Cinco de Mayo is a great excuse for us to try our best to recreate them. In the spirit of being healthy, we’ve shared an awesome, easy Guacamole recipe below.


What you’ll need:

  • 5 large Hass avocados (black in color, slightly soft to the press)
  • the juice of 2 large limes
  • 1 medium white onion (diced)
  • 3⁄4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (chopped finely)
  • 1 large tomato (Diced-make sure it isn’t overly ripe)
  • salt
  • finely chopped fresh jalapeno (optional)

What you’ll do:

  1. Slice avocados in half. Discard the seed. Scoop out of shell with a spoon. Place in bowl.
  2. Add juice of one fresh lime immediately to prevent browning. Use a fork and mash to desired consistency.
  3. Add chopped onions, tomato, and cilantro. Stir gently to mix ingredients.
  4. Add juice of second lime and then salt to taste. Stir just slightly, until incorporated.
  5. Add jalapeño to taste.
  6. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips for a dip, or use with your favorite Mexican dish.
  7. a side note: this is to make a chunky, yet creamy guacamole. Some people prefer to use a food processor with all the ingredients to make for a VERY creamy dip.
If you have your heart set on eating out with friends, scrap the Chipotle plans and opt for a family-owned Mexican restaurant. Take a moment to chat with the owners and ask them how they celebrate the holiday. Don’t forget to wish them a happy Cinco de Mayo. 🙂

Author: Maya Gilliss-Chapman

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