Cinco de Mayo is
the most vibrant of Mexican holidays. Commonly mistaken for
Mexico’s Independence Day, the holiday actually commemorates
the victory of the Mexican army over the French army at the
Battle of Puebla. On May 5, 1862, 4,000 untrained and poorly
equipped Mexican men battled 8,000 French soldiers in an attempt
to thwart French imperialism of South America under the rule
of Napoleon III. more >>
Readers submitted their favorite Mexican and Southwestern
recipes and winners received Tamales,
a cookbook by Mark Miller, Stephan Pyles and John Sedlar,
from Wiley Publishers.
The events of May 5th are a source of national pride: after
an embattled history including fighting imperialism and colonization
from many European countries, the stunning victory of the
impoverished Mexican citizens over the French army finally
provided the Mexican people with their own independent identity
– they could finally call themselves Mexicans.
On Cinco de Mayo Mexicans north and
south of the border celebrate their culture and heritage.
Mariachi music, colorful parades, and folklorica dancing are
common celebratory activites, but the real anchor of the day
is the enormous native feast! Foods like tortillas and tamales,
sopas and mole poblano are much more traditional than the
burritos and tacos found at northern American celebrations.
For the children, sweets from a cracked piñata!