The History Behind the Holiday
In order to celebrate the holiday, and host a Cinco de Mayo themed party, you must first understand the history and purpose behind it. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army fought the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, and military general Ignacio Zaragoza led the army to victory. This win has remained important in Mexican culture and is commonly celebrated in Chicano populated areas within the United States as well.
Cinco de Drinko!
Many Latinos celebrate at Cinco de Mayo themed parties by drinking. Each drink to remember the triumph Mexicans had over the once greatest army and one of the most prominent colonizers of the time. Although the battle was finished with a victory in 1862, the celebrating seems neverending. Modern Cinco de Mayo themed parties have celebrations with friends and family alike typically with the beers Corona and Heineken. Along with these beverages, a Cinco de Mayo themed party calls for shots! It’s a celebration after all, and tradition or not, tequila shots are a must. Those that are Latino drink and party with their kin and lose alike until the sun comes up as we in America drink because others are drinking.
Forget The French Dip…
Now no Cinco de Mayo themed party is complete unless you have Tostitos chips and salsa conventionally placed in a ceramic sombrero of multiple colors. This can act as a table centerpiece and appetizer before the main meal of the party. Salsa and lime covered chips are a staple food item for any Cinco de Mayo celebration.
How Low Can You Go?
Cinco de Mayo themed parties aren’t complete without time-honored games. Traditionally you can find families playing limbo or making Papel Picado — Mexican paper cuttings. In a more modern approach to the widely celebrated holiday, there are newer drinking games being played such as No Caritas. In this game, you take a shot of the hardest liquor at hand, typically tequila, and hold a straight face no matter how much it burns while staring down your next victim. If you successfully keep a straight face, the person you were eyeing down then takes the next shoot. This continues until someone makes a face in which they take two shots, and the game resets. Now whether it’s getting the bottom rung of a limbo bar or a the bottom of a bottle, there is a good time for everyone!
Carefully Curated Jams
To create the perfect playlist for your Cinco de Mayo themed party, you can start off the night with some well-known pop jams such as Shakira’s famous bop, “Hips Don’t Lie.” After this, you can work your way up to either more big-time Latino artists such as Selena. Or, you can play more traditional Spanish music, which will create a carefree mix of Spanish pop and cultural tunes that lets every Cinco de Mayo party feel like a blast to the past with a Chicano twist.
What to Avoid
If you are caucasian and attempting to throw a Cinco de Mayo themed party appropriately, there are a few things you should try to avoid. These items include costumes, intense decorations, and banners. Cinco de Mayo is a traditional holiday that is an important aspect of Chicano culture, not an excuse to post on social media in a brightly colored Pancho with a sombrero atop your head. Along with this if you decide to decorate for your Cinco de Mayo themed party, be sure to avoid cultural appropriation and look up the meanings and importance of items typically seen at Cinco de Mayo celebrations. By thinking about these factors before hosting your Cinco de Mayo themed party, you are sure to not only be inclusive of the culture the holiday originated from, but make it a fun time for any guest of any background.
Acceptable Party Favors
Every party needs some decorations and party favors for photo opportunities and a fun time. Some acceptable party favors to give out to your guests that avoid culturally appropriating Chicano traditions include beaded necklaces that are red and green to represent the colors of the Mexican flag, or even mini flags themself. This shows that your guests are standing united alongside the victors of the battle that made Cinco de Mayo a holiday today, rather than attempting to brand Chicano culture as their own. Favors such as these can be purchased at places such as Party City for inexpensive. Along with this, rather than hanging a banner that screams Cinco de Drinko giving off the image that the holiday is simply an excuse to drink, consider putting up decorations that are culturally informative to your guests. A Mexican flag can be hung up or a silver photo backdrop are two ideas that can add to your Cinco de Mayo themed party.
Cinco de Mayo Final Must-Haves
Lastly, if you are throwing a Cinco de Mayo themed party there are some must-haves that you need on deck for all of your guests. You can never go wrong with a splash of guacamole and margaritas. The guacamole adds a little extra spark to your party and not to mention guac is a much needed universal favorite. As the margaritas add an icy yet boozy mix that can make any warm-weather party into a chill summertime mixer, celebrating Cinco de Mayo can also easily be transformed into a dayger. These assets will add to the celebratory festivities.
What are your favorite Cinco de Mayo holiday traditions? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below!
My name is Aja Ward. I am from Southern California, but I currently attend college at Hofstra University in New York. I am a freshman journalism major, and currently exploring a minor in design. I am involved in my school’s radio station 88.7 FM WRHU which is the #1 non-commercial radio station in the nation, and one of my biggest passions is fashion.