Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is not only about injecting a little bit of fiesta in your life. This day is a holiday with firm roots in Mexican History. Cinco de Mayo, or May Fifth, commemorates the day when Mexican forces in the state of Puebla successfully fought off French invaders in 1862. Contrary to what many think, this day doesn’t mark Mexican independence, which is celebrated on September 16th. In the Battle of Puebla, the Mexican army, led by Commander General Ignacio Zaragoza, successfully fought off the attacks of the French army on the city of Puebla, located about 70  miles southeast of Mexico city. It was a small but meaningful victory for Mexico, and four days later, on May 9, 1862, it was declared as a national holiday. The victory of the Battle of Puebla sent a meaningful message that  Mexico was a fierce opponent worthy of international respect.

Cinco de Mayo may not be an official event in Canada, yet there are many events in Vancouver associated with it. For people in Vancouver, celebrating this day is a way of maintaining ties with Mexico. Many restaurants, bars and clubs organize special events, promotions and tastings. Because of the pandemic, not many events might take place across Vancouver, but there will be fun vibes. While being quarantined, Cinco de Mayo can still be honored. Mood and atmosphere are important for celebrations. One can make garlands of colourful tissue paper for the ceilings, get some piñatas and a purple Eiffel tower for decorations. Vibrant table cloths, printed with tropical birds and flowers can be used. Food is an important part of Mexican culture and it can be a tasty and fun way to celebrate. Takeout can be ordered at local Mexican restaurants. Maizal RMF is a great Taco spot. Sal Y Limon and Brunch are great choices too. Dishes like Mole Poblano and Enchiladas poblanas, which are associated with the city of Puebla can be made at home. Las margaritas offers a festive Cinco Margarita kit.  Que bueno!  A visit to local art galleries like Teotihuacan Mexican Art to support artists and museums that honor Mexican history and culture is a good idea too. And I have some mannequins which I plan to dress up as a mariachi band! 

Keep in mind that no matter how you celebrate, you should still follow local COVID-19 guidelines and practice social distancing whenever possible.

May your Cinco de Mayo be as beautiful as the culture of Mexico!

                                                                             Bartika Dutta

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