Cinco de Mayo is Only Around the Corner

Cinco de Mayo is Only Around the Corner

Daniella Mahler, Reporter

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday celebrating the date that the Mexican army held victoy in 1862 over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Although it’s a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, the United States has evolved Cinco de Mayo into a big celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is particularly popular in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

Cinco de Mayo in Mexico

In Mexico Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla, where the unlikely victory was won, as well as other parts of the country. Some traditions in Mexico include military parades, re-creations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many natives living in Mexico, May fifth is like any other day.

Traditions During Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a time to enjoy traditional Mexican recipes and favorite Mexican foods. It is very common for several Mexican dishes to be prepared and to take part in activities for Cinco de Mayo. Some activities include dancing and singing. Mexican children enjoy piñatas at Cinco de Mayo celebrations, paper mache animals or figures filled with candies. They take turns being blindfolded and hitting the piñata with a stick until it breaks and the children collect the candy that falls.

Traditional Food During Cinco de Mayo

Many delicious traditional Mexican foods are prepared on May fifth. Here’s a fun recipe to try:

Puebla Chicken and Potato Stew


    • 2 lb chicken thighs (with skin and bone)
    • 6 cups water
    • 1 large white onion, quartered
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 garlic cloves (not peeled)
    • 1 (14-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
    • 4 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo*
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
    • 1 (1 1/2-oz) link dried Spanish chorizo* (spicy cured pork sausage), finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 lb boiling potatoes
    • 2 oz crumbled queso fresco*, ricotta salata, or farmer cheese (1/2 cup)
    • Accompaniments: avocado slices; warm corn tortillas


    1. Bring chicken, water, 2 onion quarters, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil, covered, in a 4- to 5-quart pot over moderately high heat. Boil 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, reserving broth with onion. When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred chicken, discarding skin and bones.
    2. While chicken is cooking, heat a dry well-seasoned small cast-iron skillet over moderate heat until hot, then brown garlic and remaining 2 onion quarters on all sides, turning with tongs, about 5 minutes. Peel garlic and transfer with onion to a blender. Add tomatoes with juice, chiles, and oregano, then purée until smooth.
    3. Cook chorizo in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until fat is rendered, about 2 minutes. Carefully add purée (it will splatter and steam) and cook, stirring frequently, until thick, about 10 minutes.
    4. Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch pieces, then add to reserved broth with remaining teaspoon salt. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.
    5. Add potatoes and onions to chorizo mixture along with 2 cups broth (save remainder for another use). Stir in chicken and simmer 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cheese.