Imagine a holiday that is not really official, but is so close to everyone’s heart that it is voluntarily considered a national holiday! Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? That is exactly what Mexico’s Cinco De Mayo is – a combination of gripping history and extravagant celebrations.
What is this festival?
Cinco De Mayo, meaning the fifth of May in Spanish, marks Mexico’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The occasion is honoured with parades by the military as well as in schools all over the country as they pay tribute to the soldiers and civilians who sacrificed their lives in the battle for their nation. And, then it’s time for festivities. The public squares or Zocalos are filled with entertainment stalls where locals enjoy delicious Mexican food, music and dance troops. Mariachi bands crowd town squares and Dos Equis and Corona beers are readily served. You can also see hawkers selling traditional and patriotic clothes along with accessories to people who wish to wear them during the celebration.
Where can you enjoy it best?
Although Cinco de Mayo is celebrated throughout Mexico, this jovial fiesta is best enjoyed in the state of Puebla, where the iconic battle was fought. Local actors live up to the age-old tradition of refabricating the battle of Puebla – an event a lot of visitors come to see. Penon de los Banos, a small neighbourhood in Mexico City, is another place one must visit on this day. Cinco de Mayo is concluded with traditional shouts of ‘Viva Mexico’.
So enough with the information. Words alone cannot do this gala festival enough justice. You’ll have to be in Puebla to experience the real joy of Cinco De Mayo.
And while we’re there, why not explore the beautiful country that Mexico is. We give you a list of other fascinating places you can visit on your next Mexican holiday.
Viva Mexico, folks!
Distance from Puebla – Approx. 2 hours
Lying in the Valley of Mexico at an altitude of over 7300 ft, Mexico City is surrounded by high mountain ranges and is stretched on the foothills of the stunning snow-capped Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl volcanic mountains. Visit the capital city’s enormous Zócalo square and relax in its tranquil Chapultepec Park. Explore Coyoacán and San Ángel, Mexico City’s colonial neighbourhoods and make a trip to Xochimilco, a serene lakeside area with pretty, colourful boats. Though recent globalisation has made its mark on this spectacular city, most of its areas remain timeless and untouched from the last 650 years.
Distance from Puebla – Approx. 2 hours
Built in 2nd Century BC, the Teotihuacán civilization is a delight for history lovers. Renowned for its huge pyramids and rich culture, Teotihuacán was declared a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. This ruined ancient city lying on the edge of the high-placed Anáhuac valley should definitely be on your bucket list post Cinco De Mayo!
Distance from Puebla – Approx. 7 hours
Mexico’s second largest city Guadalajara is known to be the cultural centre of Western Mexico and is also the birthplace of mariachi music and the very famous tequila beverage! Explore Guadalajara’s broad avenues and well-planned parks as you fall in love with its light-coloured buildings. Interact with the locals, who proudly call themselves Tapatíos and marvel at their natural artistry. Visit the Hospicio Cabañias, one of largest and oldest buildings in the Americas and also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lastly, don’t miss a visit to another popular UNESCO site – Santiago de Tequila, which is just an hour’s drive away from Guadalajara.
Distance from Puebla – Approx. 5.5 hours
The charming city of Guanajuato is snuggled in the mountains of Sierra de Guanajuato. Guanajuato prospered in the 16th century on a mine boom and holds many fascinating mine fields and museums. The Guanajuato State also boast of many attractive colonial towns that own striking scenic backdrop and several health resorts – making the region a popular tourist destination.
Distance from Puebla – Approx. 3.5 hours
Again the capital of the state of the same name, Querétaro is known for its fluttering art and music scene and surrounding mountain valleys. Its holds some very handsome colonial houses, squares and churches and also boasts of well-trimmed public parks. Nestled at the foot of Cerro de las Campanas, Santiago de Querétaro was given a world cultural heritage status by UNESCO in 1996.
Thus, while most tourists prefer to go for a coastal Mexican destination, you get the rare chance to rejoice the cultural richness of Central Mexico in unequalled luxury!