In Mexico, the holiday commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over French forces in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. While it may not be a huge holiday in the United States for some, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture for many Americans. And it’s a great reason to hold a party!
The mix of spring weather, colorful decorations and fantastic food and drinks makes a Cinco de Mayo celebration that much more fun. To get in the spirit of spring and celebrate our geographic neighbor’s holiday (and maybe the holiday celebrating the heritage of your next-door neighbor), consider throwing your own Cinco de Mayo party. Here’s what you’ll need for a great bash!
Decorations for a festive Cinco de Mayo should be bright and colorful. Think about colors and styles you’ve seen in Mexico or in photos. Bright flowers and vibrant colors like reds, greens, pinks and yellows would work best. Consider your options (without breaking the bank). Something to think about for decorations: red, white and green are the colors of the Mexican flag.
Visit a hobby store to purchase striped or brightly colored fabric to place on your table and surrounding serving areas. Look for small piñatas and sombreros at hobby stores to use as decorative accessories, along with strings of decorative chili peppers. Break out your colorful earthenware serving dishes. If you’re using recyclable plastic, invest in bright reds and yellows.
Colorful tissue flowers are used for many celebrations in Mexico. Before the party, gather with some gal pals to make a bunch.
Cervezas and margaritas seem to top the list of Mexican-inspired drinks to serve for a Cinco de Mayo party, but there are more drinks to enjoy. Consider other drinks like agua fresca (a traditional Mexican drink made with fresh fruit, water and sugar) that you could serve with alcohol or without, as well as sangria and piña coladas.
If you’re lucky to live near or know of a grocery store that sells Mexican Coca-Cola, scoop some up! It’s Coca-Cola that is made and bottled in Mexico and sold in small, thick glass bottles. The difference is that refined cane sugar is used in Mexican Coke instead of high-fructose corn syrup. The difference in taste has gained the country's soft drink version a cult following.
What’s any party without great food and music? Be sure to make a plan to entertain your guests both with good music and delightful dishes. You don’t have to go all-out with a sit-down meal. Consider finger foods only or a party with food dedicated to dips. Whether your make your own guacamole or pick some up at the grocery store, try to serve Mexican-inspired foods. From dips and chips to main dishes, Mexican food can be easy to make or order.
You don’t have to hire a mariachi band (but think of the fun!) or play only Mexican music at your fiesta, but plan to pepper the evening’s soundtrack with some traditional music. Think folk music for its liveliness or try some Tito Puente, the king of Latin music. Also consider Santana or the Mambo Kings. It won’t take long before guests are up and dancing.
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