The Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo is often misunderstood in the United States, being confused with Mexico’s Labor Day (May 1) and Independence Day (September 16). It is actually in celebration of a victory by Mexican forces against the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. While this was a minor battle in the war for Mexico against the French invasion in the Second Franco-Mexican War, it is important because of the fact that an extremely outnumbered Mexican force won out against the French, who not only had greater numbers on their side, but also superior firepower. It is a celebration of courage and was very inspirational for the people of Mexico. In Mexico, it is a regional holiday celebrated in the city and state of Puebla, located in the southern central part of Mexico. In the U.S., it has spread from first being celebrated in the Southwest to now all across the U.S.
For more about the celebration of this secular holiday, check out:
- Chicano Folklore and Community Celebrations article from World Folklore and Folklife
- Mexico Holidays article from AtoZ The World
- And lots of articles, photos, and more by searching “Cinco de Mayo” in Latino American Experience
Also, there are great history articles and more found by searching “Cinco de Mayo” in these online resources:
Now that you and your family have explored the background of this Hispanic Heritage holiday, let’s move from the purely educational to the fun!
Learning some Latin American Spanish can be both educational and fun. Lessons for children and adults are available in these resources:
Hoopla has lots to enjoy for Cinco de Mayo:
- EBooks – this is a selection of English & Spanish children’s ebooks out of 16 ebooks in all
- Carr, Aaron. Cinco de Mayo (Spanish)
- Crayola Cinco de Mayo Colors (English)
- Lowry, Linda. El Cinco de Mayo (Spanish)
- Reader, Jack. The Story Behind Cinco de Mayo (English)
- Sebra, Richard. It’s Cinco de Mayo (English) & Es Cinco de Mayo (Spanish)
- Cinco De Mouse-O! (for children)
- Prescott, W.H. History of the Conquest of Mexico (nonfiction)
- Myers, Ann. Cinco de Mayhem (mystery fiction for adults)
Music – this is a selection out of 23 albums:
- Cinco de Mayo
- Cinco de Mayo Cumbia Party
- Cinco de Mayo Salsa Party
- Cinco de Mayo Mexican Mariachi Party
- Musica Ranchera “Cinco de Mayo”
And for some hands-on celebration, there are crafts and recipes available in the Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center:
- Michaels, Lauren, et al. “You Can Make It!” Highlights, vol. 59, no. 5, May 2004, pp. 36–37. EBSCOhost, Includes instructions for making maracas for Cindo de Mayo
- Helfrich, Sue. “Cinco De Mayo.” Scrapbooking With Cricut, Jan. 2010, pp. 24–25. EBSCOhost,
- “Cinco de Mayo Tote.” Creative Knitting, vol. 32, no. 3, May 2010, pp. 54–89. EBSCOhost,
- MERRIDAY, CELIA. “¡Viva México!” Yum Food & Fun for Kids, vol. 4, no. 2, Summer 2013, pp. 82–83. EBSCOhost,
- Blanchard, Nanette. “A Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.” Vegetarian Journal, vol. 26, no. 2, May 2007, pp. 6–8. EBSCOhost,
- Houston, Gillie. “16 Authentic Mexican Dishes to Make for Cinco de Mayo.” My Recipes, Apr. 2018, p. 1.,
Now you’ve gone through this blog, it’s time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in your own home!
Sara Churchill is the Digital Services Librarian and Assistant Supervisor at Main-Information Services. Loves reading Science Fiction/Fantasy books, British cozy mysteries, True Crime and other true stories, plus a past reader of horror fiction by the likes of Stephen King and John Saul (among others). Also a big fan of Sci-fi, action, horror, spaghetti westerns, and based-on-a-true story movies. Her blogs are for adults and the entire family to enjoy reading and trying out the many online resources free for library cardholders to use.