Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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Today Cinco de Mayo festivities break out across much of the United States. May 5th is a date of great importance for the Mexican and Chicano communities, marking the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Many people wrongly equate this holiday with Mexican Independence which was actually won on September 16, 1810 – nearly fifty years earlier. Indeed, the Cinco de Mayo holiday has come to be celebrated on a much larger scale by the Mexican community in the United States than in Mexico itself. Chicanos – Americans of Mexican descent – celebrate May 5th by having colourful parades, mariachi music, folklorico dancing and other types of festive activities that celebrate Mexican culture.

The largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations are in South Western US cities such as Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver and El Paso. In these cities, a large proportion of the population has Mexican origins. Many people hang up banners and school districts organize lessons and special events to educate their pupils about the rich culture of Americans of Mexican descent. But even cities with relatively small chicano populations – like Portland, Oregon, or Boston, Massachusetts host celebrations, albeit on a smaller scale.

If you’re in the U.S. today, think about heading to a public square or popular Mexican restaurant, where you’ll be sure to find fun, laughter and music. Or stay home and prepare your own Mexican meal – here are a few great recipes to get you started: Complete Cinqo de Mayo Menu.
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