May is right around the corner, and that means fiesta time! Before summer really takes over, bringing high temperatures and higher humidity, it’s time to enjoy a party outside. There’s no better holiday that’s better for a backyard get-together than Cinco de Mayo!
The History of Cinco de Mayo
Many people believe that Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of Mexican Independence Day. Those many people are wrong. Mexican Independence Day is celebrated September 16th, but El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (in English, The Day of the Battle of Puebla) is celebrated on the fifth of May. The quick(ish) history lesson is that on May 5th of 1862, the poorly-equipped Mexican army (numbering only 4,000) succeeded in crushing the larger and much stronger French army in Puebla. But this was much more than just a victory for the Mexican army. The French army planned to move north after defeating the Mexican army, in order to join the Rebel army of the South fighting in the Civil War. Had they not been defeated in Puebla, the outcome of our own Civil War might have been drastically different!
But enough with the history lesson – we’ve got a party to plan!
Where’s the party?
Depending on the location and how many guests you will be inviting, there are plenty of options for throwing your own Cinco de Mayo Party. Because the Mexican army planned their victory before the start of summer, many people like to take advantage of the late Spring weather by holding their Cinco de Mayo parties outdoors. In case weather becomes a factor, it’s always a great idea to rent a tent for the party. If it rains you can still stay dry, and if the sun just won’t let up, your guests will have a place to get some shade! If you prefer the climate-controlled consistency of indoors, it’s easy to have a Cinco de Mayo party right in your own home, depending on the space and size of the crowd. If you need a bigger venue, it may be possible to rent a local restaurant or facility to host your exciting Cinco de Mayo Fiesta!
What to do, what to do?
Despite the marketing hype, there is a lot more potential for your Cinco de Mayo party than just a bunch of adult beverages. Indoors or out, children can be easily entertained with a number of great options. If you want to stay with the holiday motif, buying (or even making) a piñata is a great option, and everyone will be waiting to put on the blindfold and swing away at the candy-filled donkey! But when kids are in attendance, and especially when the piñata has been smashed and the candy spilled, you just can’t go wrong with a face painter or magician. If your location permits, you can spice things up with a traveling zoo or even a bounce house rental!
Bring in the Band!
Adults and children alike love music, and nothing makes a Cinco de Mayo party quite like hiring a Mariachi Band to perform for your guests! Even if you can’t find a traditional Mariachi Band in your area, there are other options, including Bolero bands, Latin bands, Merengue bands or Salsa groups! If you’re going all-out for your Cinco de Mayo party, you may even want to hire a Latin dance group or Salsa dancer, or maybe even a traveling bullfighting show! Okay, maybe the bullfighting would be a little too much…
What about food and drinks for your guests? You’ve got plenty of options, from grilling tacos outside to setting up a build-your-own taco bar, or you can take the hands-off approach and call in the caterers! Whether you do it all yourself or leave it up to the pros, don’t forget to have a variety of chips and salsa, because they go really well with tequil…beverages. For a quick and tasty appetizer, try this Grilled Corn Guacamole from The Recipe Critic.
- 3 ears Corn
- 6 whole Avocados, Diced
- 1 Large Tomato, Diced
- ¼ cup Onion, Diced
- 2 Garlic cloves, Finely Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Diced Fresh Jalapeno
- 1 whole Lime, Juiced
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- Dash of pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ cup Cilantro Leaves, chopped
- Grill the corn until it is nice and golden with grill marks. Set them aside to cool.
- Cut avocados in half and dice the avocado in the skin and scoop out with a spoon.
- Combine avocados, tomato, onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cumin. Mix gently.
- Add cilantro and mix. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
Getting into the Spirit(s)
It wouldn’t be a Cinco de Mayo post without the margaritas! If you’re tired of the old lime or strawberry margaritas, try this Skinny Coconut Margarita from With Salt and Wit.
- 3 ounces lite coconut milk (from the can)
- 3 ounces tequila blanco
- 1 ½ ounces triple sec
- 8 ounces coconut water
- Fresh lime wedge, to serve
- In a shaker, combine the coconut milk, tequila blanco, triple sec and coconut water. Shake until combined.
- Pour into cocktail glasses with ice.
- Serve with a lime wedge.
But of course, if you’re not quite daring enough to mix your own Cinco de Mayo creations (or simply more interested in the drinking than the making), you can always hire a bartender to get the job done for you. Get festive and dress up your drink with our free printable Cinco de Mayo drink flags!
Spread the word!
Last but not least, make sure that everyone knows about your Cinco de Mayo party! It’s going to be the biggest Cinco de Mayo party of the year, right? Why not spread the word by sending out some fun invites? Use our free printable Fiesta Invitations!
Hopefully everyone will already know what day you are having the party (unless they decided to celebrate a little early with the cervesas) but they’ll still need to know where it’s at (your venue), what to bring (mas tequila!), what to wear (we recommend formal dress: a tuxedo and a sombrero), and when to arrive for the big piñata swing!