Español. It’s not surprising that many think Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s independence, but it actually commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely triumph over Napoleon III’s French forces in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. The battle was one of many in an ongoing war between the two nations, but the victory temporarily stopped France’s invasion of the nation and bolstered Mexican spirits by showing that it could resist global powers.
Residents in the city of Puebla celebrate the day with speeches, performances, and reenactments of the battle itself. In Mexico, outside of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday. Students have the day off from school, but it is optional for businesses and government offices to close. In the 20th Century, Mexican immigrants in the U.S. began using the day to express their pride in Mexican culture. Since then, Cinco de Mayo has blossomed into a nationwide celebration where Mexican communities hold parties with their friends and family to commemorate their heritage. The celebrations typically include Mexican-style food, live music, and decorations.
This year, there will be many public events celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the Los Angeles Area. At the Kiosk of La Placita Olvera, dancing and live music will take place on Friday May 4th and festivities including folkloric dancers, piñatas, and mariachis will continue throughout the weekend.
If you’re 21 and over, Hecho in LA: Taco Madness will take place on May 5th at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes from 6 p.m. to midnight and will feature DJs and live art, as well as tacos, Mexican beer cocktails, and food trucks.
Perhaps the largest celebration will take place in Santa Ana, which is home to Orange County’s largest Mexican-American community. Cinco de Mayo festivities will last for two full days from May 4th through the 6th on historic 4th street.
For those who want to see a Mexican-style performance, Lucha VaVoom Psychadelic Cinco will take place at the Mayan Theater on May 4th and 5th and feature comedy, burlesque, and masked wrestlers.
If you feel like going shopping, check out the Citadel Outlets, which will be decorated for Cinco de Mayo. Many of the shops will feature mariachi and folklorico performances from noon to 2 p.m on Saturday and Sunday.
Many other festivals will happen over the weekend so be sure to check out events in your community for some traditional music and tasty food. This is a good list of events happening in LA: https://www.tripsavvy.com/cinco-de-mayo-in-la-1586501
And for events happening in the rest of the state, check here: http://www.seecalifornia.com/festivals/california-cinco-de-mayo.html
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