Fun Facts about Cinco de Mayo

It is hard to believe it is already Cinco de Mayo. This year of course is so different than other years since many of us are living with stay-at-home orders but I thought it would be fun to talk about Cinco de Mayo. But first do you know what Cinco de Mayo actually is? I think most people know or realize that the words Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for May 5th, but most do not know why it is a holiday. Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico's Independence Day. Mexico's Independence Day is September 16th.
However on May 5, 1862, a Mexican army defeated a much bigger French army in the Mexican state of Puebla. It is known as the Battle of Puebla. Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin lead 4,500 Mestizo farmers and Zapotec Indians in the battle. They had horses but did not have many weapons. They used farm tools and rocks and sticks. The French had 6,500 soldiers with many horses and guns. The French infantry attacked but they were in mud because of a storm that had happened recently and the Zapotec Indians got the cattle to stampede them and attacked the French with machetes. The Mexicans won! The French later went on to take over the capital of Mexico and thus controlling Mexico. They sent Maximillian of Austria to run Mexico. But the loss of the Battle of Puebla was a huge disappointment for Napoleon III. Napoleon had planned to build a base in Puebla to be able to provide supplies to the Confederate Army in the United States. The Civil War was happening in the United States. As you can imagine the Civil War may have ended very differently had the French won the Battle of Puebla. Therefore the Battle of Puebla actually affected our history! Here are some fun facts about Cinco de Mayo now that you know the history of the day.

Fun Facts

  1. President Benito Juárez declared it a national holiday, “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo” on May 9, 1862. However it is no longer considered a holiday in Mexico.
  2. The holiday is celebrated more in the United States than Mexico.
  3. The holiday started to be celebrated in America after President Franklin Roosevelt instituted the “Good Neighbor Policy” to improve relations with Latin American countries in 1933.
  4. However in California Mexican miners broke into celebration after hearing about the win.
  5. The largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations are in Los Angeles.
  6. In 2005 President George W. Bush declared it a national holiday in the United States.
  7. In Chandler, Arizona they hold Chihuahua dog races on this day. Washington, D.C. also holds its own Running of the Chihuahua.
  8. Around 87 million avocados are eaten on Cinco de Mayo in the U.S.
  9. At celebrations and parades Puebla dresses are worn which are very colorful.
  10. Mole poblano is the official dish of Cinco de Mayo. It is traditionally eaten in the state of Puebla. Here is a recipe I found on-line (I haven't tried it yet).
    Comidas de méxico 02
    Mole Poblano by Paulakindsvater / CC BY-SA
  11. There are celebrations in Australia, Japan, and South Africa. The holiday is spreading across the globe. The Cayman Islands hold an air guitar competition. Vancouver, Canada does a skydiving boogie to celebrate.
  12. In 2013, Americans spent more than $600 million on beer on Cinco de Mayo. The Guinness World Record for the largest serving of guacamole was set with it weighing 5,885.24 pounds. The world’s most expensive margarita was also created at 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar and Penthouse Lounge. It cost $1200, and half of the purchase price went to a charity of the drinker’s choice.
  13. In 2017 Times Square in New York City had a giant lit up lime wedge that dropped (like the New Year’s Eve ball) sponsored by the Corona beer company.
  14. Americans drink an average of 3.5 alcoholic drinks on Cinco de Mayo.
  15. Americans spend about $2.9 billion on margaritas every year. Americans consume about 4.5 billion tacos every year.
  16. The Battle of Puebla is re-enacted every year in Mexico City and in Puebla.
  17. Longmont, Colorado celebrates with a Chihuahua beauty contest where they crown a King and a Queen.

Activity Round-Up

Want to do something with your family today to celebrate? Check out these crafts, activities and recipe to find ways to learn more and have fun on this Cinco de Mayo while stuck at home!

1) Try this cheesy taco pasta bake from Crayons and Cravings.
2) Let your kids make their own play tacos with this play taco bar from the Mama Workshop.
3) How about painting some rock tacos with this idea from Artsy Farsty Mama.
4) How fun are these Frida Kahlo pinatas from Red Ted Art.
5) Decorate your house with homemade papel picado.
6) Make your own cascarones with eggs from Thrifty Jinxy.
7) Make some instruments for your kids with homemade guiros and maracas
8) Here are two Cinco de Mayo word searches from (left) Jinxy Kids and (right) Crayons and Cravings.
9) Another printable of find and color page from Your Therapy Source.
10) A free printable roll and graph game from Wise Owl Factory.
11) Here is a Cinco de Mayo skip counting puzzle from Simple Fun for Kids.
12) How about teaching them about Mexico with this coloring page from Kindergarten Worksheets and Games. 

Plus be sure to check out our other posts about Mexico that include books, fairy tales, artists, fiestas, and more! I would love for you to share some photos of your Cinco de Mayo celebrations!