Holidays are plentiful, from Mother’s Day to Memorial Day. And don’t forget Cinco de Mayo (the “fifth of May”), which is right around the corner.
The date is significant to Hispanics, as it is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, commemorating the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Contrary to widespread belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in the country, which is actually observed on September 16.
When Cinco de Mayo rolls around, Mexicans get out their party clothes and head to a fiesta.
They may first watch a parade, usually a military spectacle that pays tribute to all who gave their lives for their country.
Or if they happen to be in Mexico City, they may head to Peñón de los Baños to observe a reenactment of the actual battle, a tradition that the people of this barrio have kept alive for many years.
In every town square, there will be festivities with music, dancing and food.
It’s a joyous time and young and old come together to mark the occasion.
In the U.S., where the Hispanic population is close to 50 million and comprises over 16 percent of the country’s population, Cinco de Mayo is recognized as a date to celebrate the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry in much the same way as St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest and the Chinese New Year are used to signify those of Irish, German and Chinese ancestry respectively.
And as is often the case, many Americans, regardless of their ethnic background, join in the festivities.
There are special events and activities highlighting Mexican culture in cities and towns across the U.S.
Locally, there will be several races including the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon and 8K and the Seattle 5K Olé and Taco Challenge.
At the Children’s Museum in Seattle Center, kids can join in on the fun and learn about the holiday through various games, crafts and cooking projects.
They can also take part in the activities at El Centro de la Raza, which is putting on a family-friendly street party.
For the late night crowd, the Seattle International Foundation will host a Cinco de Mayo party with some of the city’s best DJs.
There’ll be salsa dancing lessons at the Century Ballroom and over at Teatro ZinZanni, the “Tres Amigos” will put on an extra spicy, extra loco show of comedy, music and saucy entertainment.
Out on the water, passengers on the Queen of Seattle Paddle Wheel Cruises will be cruising to the sounds of mariachi music and chowing down on an Olé! buffet.
And as always, plenty of area restaurants and watering holes are planning on offering tasty deals on food and beverages.