Events & Holidays

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, is a holiday created to celebrate Mexican independence from France. The Mexicans were victorious on May 5, 1862, which is where the holiday gets its name. The most fascinating part of the holiday, is it is hardly recognized in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is typically celebrated by Mexicans living in the United States. The cities that hold the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations are: Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, San Antonio, Sacraments, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver, and El Paso.

Cinco de Mayo Parade 2012 on Central Park West, Upper West Side, New York by:PaulSteinJC

Cinco de Mayo does not only celebrate Mexican independence, but Mexican culture as a whole. Most celebrators wave Mexican flags, listen to Mexican music, eat Mexican food, and drink Mexican alcohol, especially tequila. Mexican dances are danced in the street, and many wear intricate costumes that are reflective of Mexican culture. In essence, Cinco de Mayo is a day that people with Mexican heritage can celebrate their truly unique culture.

Cinco_de_Mayo_2010-9 by: madmarv00


Día de los Muertos

A day to honor ancestors, Mexicans in the United States celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos much like Mexicans celebrate in Mexico.Families can still be found holding fast to two traditions: pan de muerto, a bread with a toy skeleton in it reminiscent of the “king cake” of mardi gras; and the ofrenda, or “offering” to the graves of passed loved ones, literally or as a shrine in the home. Ofrendas are often decorated with candles and Mexican marigolds.

Communities in the United States have eagerly adopted the holiday, putting on annual parades and processions, even Americanizing the event with food, arts and crafts, and concerts.

The All Souls Procession is an annual event in Tucson – donning masks, many people don’t just carry signs to honor the dead — they also carry an urn for people to put their paper prayers into, to be burned later.

In San Francisco, all cultures may take part in their Day of the Dead Procession & Altars, an event that mixes art and ritual, still holding onto its Mexican roots - perhaps fittingly so, because the Day of the Dead is a day that celebrates community as much as it honors family ancestors.

On Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland, California, Mexican heritage glows as Chicano activists and their immigrant families hold on to their traditions — and tens of thousands from all over flock to the traditional Mexican fare, which is by no means the only kind of food to be found there: ethnic cuisine from Cambodian to Indian food also attract hungry celebrators.