Cinco de Mayo (direct translation: “Fifth of May”) is a holiday that is celebrated in parts of Mexico and the United States. The day is set aside to recognize the May 5, 1862, anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, when the Mexican army overcame the French forces of Napoleon III. (Learn more about the history of this day here.)
Although the holiday is not widely celebrated in Mexico, Mexican-Americans across the United States see Cinco de Mayo as a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage. Celebrations include bright, colorful and fun flags and decorations, traditional Mexican foods, mariachi music and margaritas.
Whether you are planning a quiet celebration or a big neighborhood bash, it’s easy to make Cinco de Mayo sustainable.
• The Look: If you can’t make decorations at home, support local Mexican merchants by buying supplies from shops close to home. Feature used Mexican beer bottles as vases to display colorful paper bouquets. Or use potted cacti to bring your space to life! Guests can bring one home after the party, or you can display them in your own home after everyone has gone.
• The Feel: Every party is made better with live music. Plus, the reason so many people celebrate Cinco d Mayo is to honor Mexican culture. What better way to do that than to hire a local mariachi band to play at the party. Doing so will support the local economy, support the Mexican music scene and set the mood for a great party.
• The Food: For the most authentic, sustainable option, shop for party foods locally. Mexican grocers often sell homemade delicacies, often available for catering large gatherings. Worse case, stock up on supplies to make your own family favorites.
• Don’t Forget The Drinks: No Cinco de Mayo party is complete without margaritas. Organic tequilas are available in most stores, but it’s best to ask merchants at the Mexican grocery for options that might also be made locally. Add some fresh, organic limes and you’re ready to go!