Cinco de Mayo is a traditional Mexican holiday with a fascinating history—but perhaps even more interesting is the fact that it's now become more popular in the United States than in Mexico. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, but it's primarily celebrated in Puebla, which is just one of Mexico's 31 states. So how did the holiday come to be such a large celebration in America?
After the Mexican Civil War in 1915, many Mexican people came to the United States and settled in the southern states. When they came to America, they brought with them their customs, traditions, and holidays—including Cinco de Mayo.
So the American people began celebrating Cinco de Mayo alongside their Mexican neighbors, but oftentimes they didn't really understand what they were celebrating; to them it was just a fun celebration of Mexican culture. Over the last hundred or so years, the holiday has taken off in America, with many people using it as an excuse to eat tacos and drink margaritas, rather than celebrating what the holiday actually stands for.
If you've celebrated this way in the past, don't sweat it: Take this as an opportunity to learn more about the history of the holiday and plan a more appropriate celebration this year.
1. Share the Real Story
Many Americans are quick to celebrate with tacos and margaritas without understanding the cultural significance of the holiday. Before partaking in any celebrations, take a few minutes to learn about the holiday and educate others you're celebrating with. "Changing stereotypes is something that we need help with, and if you do your part, we can share how awesome the truth behind Cinco de Mayo is," Sandoval says.
2. Support Mexican Businesses
While there are plenty of chain restaurants that offer Cinco de Mayo deals, Sandoval suggests supporting locally instead: Skip the Taco Bell drive-thru and order carry-out from a local Mexican-owned business in your area. "Whether it's your local Mexican Restaurant, or a local Mexican pottery store, supporting small business owners helps not just your local economy but it helps to support the Mexicans who's culture you enjoy celebrating," she says.
3. Support Mexican Arts and Museums
This holiday isn't just about the food! "So often we dismiss the value of true Mexican artesanías," Sandoval says. "If you have a local art gallery, museum, or artist, show up and support those artists and museums that are honoring Mexican history and culture." If you're not familiar with any in your area, a quick internet search can help you find local venues.
4. Eat the Food!
It's important to make sure you're celebrating Mexican heritage and not treating the day as just an excuse to go out for margaritas—but food is such a large part of the Mexican culture, that it can be one of the best (and tastiest!) ways to celebrate. Order carry-out at a local restaurant, or try making your own at home. Sandoval recommends Mole Poblano, a spicy and delicious traditional Mexican dish that originates from the city of Puebla, or Enchiladas Poblanas that are made with poblano chiles.
5. Create A Cinco De Mayo Playlist
Tune into the hottest Mexican musical artists using Amazon Music Unlimited or Spotify. Find a playlist that already exists or create your own. This is a great way to have some seriously fun music in the background while also supporting Mexican musicians at the same time!
6. Set Out Some Festive Decor
Hang some papel picado, set up streamers, go crazy! There are plenty of ways to decorate your home for Cinco de Mayo while still respecting Mexican culture—Just think or do some research before you toss sombreros everywhere. If you’re looking for generally cheerful, colorful decorations, the Auihiay 32-Piece Fiesta Party Decorations Kit is a great option.
7. Cook Your Own Mexican-Inspired Recipe
If you’d rather create your own fiesta dishes, try out some classic Mexican-inspired recipes. This is a fun way to get in the kitchen and make a delicious meal that also celebrates Mexican culture. Try researching some authentic recipes, too, if you want to really lean into the day. You might be surprised just how much you love traditional Mexican cuisine.
8. Learn Some Traditional Mexican Dance Moves
Take some time—maybe while listening to that Cinco de Mayo playlist you just made—to learn some traditional Mexican dance moves. Jarabe Tapatío (the Mexican Hat Dance) or La Conquista (which narrates the story of the Spanish conquest) are good places to start. Or, if you’d rather just sit on your couch, you can always watch videos of the dances as well. We reccomend the Los Voladores de Papantla dance, where participants scale a 30-foot pole. (!!!)
9. Make A Margarita Bar
Break out the margarita glasses, some margarita mix, your fruits of choice and (of course) some tequila. Set out all the ingredients and let everyone in your household design their own ideal margarita. From strawberry and mango to pineapple and blueberry, there’s no limit to the fun combinations you can create for a night filled with margaritas. BTW, if you’re low on supplies, the Thoughtfully Skinny Margarita Set is the perfect all-in-one buy.
10. Have A Zoom Fiesta
If you don’t have people to celebrate with at home—or even if you do—gather your friends on a group Zoom call, set some fun Zoom backgrounds and have a margarita toast. You can play some fun music, create a Mexican-themed drinking game or just chat while eating Mexican food. Cinco de Mayo is better celebrated with others—even if it’s virtually.
11. DIY A Piñata
If you’re feeling a little crafty, why not try making your own piñata? You just need cardboard, poster board, tissue paper, glue and tape for this easy and fun DIY. Plus, once it’s created, you can fill it with candy and let everyone in your home take a stab at breaking it.
12. Learn About The History Of Cinco De Mayo
Take some time this Cinco de Mayo to learn about why it’s celebrated. Sure, this might not sound like a fun party activity, but it totally can be. You can create a trivia drinking game out of it or watch videos that explain the history in an entertaining way. Knowing the history behind Cinco de Mayo can help you celebrate the holiday in a thoughtful and educated way (that definitely still includes tequila).
Sources: Better Homes & Gardens by Emily VanSchmus March 4, 2021 and StyleCaster by Maggie Griswold April 30, 2020.
Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 1. As you prepare to set your clocks back one hour, remember to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO) detector. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO alarm, now is a great time to buy one. More than 400 people die each year in the United States from unintentional, non-fire related CO poisoning.
CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, vehicles, generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or burning charcoal or wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.
When power outages occur during emergencies such as severe winter storms, the use of alternative sources of power for heating or cooking can cause CO to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside.
You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure
CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by learning the symptoms of CO poisoning and acting wisely during a power outage.
Do you dream of a closet where clothes have room to breathe and hang neatly and organized? Instead, the reality is our closets are stuffed full of shirts, pants, shoes, belts and jackets. Most of these items don't even get worn. We run out of hangers or shelf space, and then we shop for storage solutions to store the over-flow of clothes. Paring down your wardrobe will reduce stress and save you money. Plus there's a special pleasure for those who look in their closet and love everything they see. Here's 9 simple tips to get you started:
Start easy. Begin by removing the clothes that are stained, ripped, or faded beyond recognition. Items that are no longer in wearable condition can still be donated.
Remove seasonal items. Remove off-season clothing from your closet to free up some needed space. If you didn’t wear an item at all last year, get rid of it. Then, store the remaining pieces in a separate closet where they will not be in your way cluttering up your closet.
Get rid of clothes that don’t fit once and for all. If you’re in-between sizes, certainly keep some clothing from both. But if you haven’t cleaned out your closet for quite some time, there are likely a number of ill-fitting items that can be removed entirely—whether you changed sizes, the item shrunk or stretched, or it never did fit quite right. Those ill-fitting items are weighing you down physically, mentally, and emotionally. Pass them on to someone who can use them.
Reduce your need for additional accessories. If you’re holding on to something until you find the “perfect accessory,” let it go. Clothes often multiply in our closets (one purchase leads to another, which leads to another). In the future, look for pieces that compliment your existing accessory pile. After all, if you’re constantly adding things to your closet, you’ll never get ahead (not in your closet and not in your checkbook).
Consider the idea of one. If one can be enough, embrace it. Rather than owning an entire assortment, try owning just your favorite black dress, belt, handbag, or jacket (just to name a few ideas). A closet filled with only things you love and use will be a closet that you love to use.
Reassess current trend purchases. The fashion industry gets rich on one principle: constantly changing fashion trends. You see, the fashion industry cannot survive on people buying only the clothes they need. So the industry invents false need by boldly declaring new fashion trends and colors for every changing season. But you don’t to have fall for their tricks. Find your favorite timeless fashion and start playing by your own rules.
Physically handle every item. If you want to make significant progress thinning out your closet, remove every item entirely from the closet. Return only the pieces you truly love. If that task seems too overwhelming, complete the process in sections (i.e. shoes today, shirts tomorrow). However you seek to accomplish this project, it is important that you physically handle each item at some point. The physical touch forces decisions.
If all else fails, pick a number. To start, choose 10. Thumb through the clothes in your closet and remove 10 items—any 10 you want. Put them in a bag and drop off at your nearest donation center. Likely, you will find the task was not that difficult. In fact, once you get started, you may find 15 or 20 things to remove without even breaking a sweat.
Experiment with less. Test your assumptions about the optimal amount of clothing with a few, simple experiments. Try placing half of your clothing in a different room for two weeks. You will be surprised how much easier is to function and get ready with fewer clothes in your closet. Most of us wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time and would live much happier with fewer wardrobe choices than we have now. But you’ll never realize that until you test it out. Less is more!
Practice maintenance. Keep everything organized. When you can see and access what you already own, you’re less likely to acquire more of the same. Hang things back up, fold them lovingly, and treat them well.
Houseplants bring a refreshing touch of nature inside. To eliminate crowded shelves and tabletops, try hanging your houseplants. These indoor hanging plants range from varieties with leggy, trailing vines to picks with thick and rubbery foliage. Find which indoor hanging plant is best for your space.