Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a large scale in the United States with parades, festivals, and dancing. Mostly noted in areas with large Mexican populations,* nationwide it is also an opportunity for everyone to go out and wear costumes at restaurants and social venues. Similar to St. Patrick’s Day in terms of scale, Cinco de Mayo is also not considered a federal holiday;** however, it is a day to celebrate Mexican pride and heritage in the US in a large and commercial manner.
HOW CITIES IN THE SOUTHWEST CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO
Cities in the Southwest have large Cinco de Mayo celebrations and it is customary for local parades and street events to take place with traditional food and music. LA hosts the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world, The Festival de Fiesta Broadway, which is a free event welcome to all ages and takes place on the last Sunday of April in downtown Los Angeles with the colors of the Mexican flag decorating the blocks surrounding City Hall. A portrait of the famous General Zaragoza, who led the Battle of Puebla in 1862,**** adorns the stage where the mayor of the city of Los Angeles gives an annual speech in Spanish for half a million people crowding the streets. Taking over 12-24 blocks of downtown, the celebration provides loads of food, live music, and fun and games for all to partake in.*** Cinco de Mayo also serves educational purposes as schools hang banners and organize lessons & events to educate America’s youth about American citizens with Mexican descent** and the history and heritage of the famous Battle of Puebla.
HOW OTHER CITIES IN THE US CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO
In cities outside the Southwest United States, like New York City, there are a variety of events that cannot be done in one day like the Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl, where $15 allows people to drink at dozens of bars for a low price the Friday and Saturday before the holiday as well as the actual 5th of May.****** The city also hosts a Guactacular event where twenty novice cooks compete in a guacamole cook-off that offers attendees a chance to enjoy free Brooklyn Lager, cast their vote, and await the judges decision.******* For the 21+ crowd the Grand Electrica all-day party starts at 11am and ends at 11pm and is held in a beautiful garden with professional DJ’s playing Latin influenced music while traditional food and margaritas are served.*********
In other areas event attendees looking to celebrate the Mexican-based holiday can find their own local flair such in Chicago where a three day festival takes place the weekend before or after Cinco de Mayo (depending on the day it lands on) and is located in Douglas Park.********* This festival also includes live musical events, dancing of traditional Mexican music and ends the night with a parade that goes through the Little Village neighborhood with floats decorated with the vibrant colors of the Mexican flag. In St. Paul, Minnesota, there is a “Lowrider Hydraulic Showdown” where the winner gets a cash prize and in Austin, Texas there’s a beauty pageant that provides a $1,000 scholarship for the winner of the contest.*****
While the celebrations may vary depending on what part of the country a person is in, the one thing that does hold true throughout the nation is that businesses are able to use the celebration as a commercial opportunity to market Mexican services and goods as well as food, drinks and traditional music and dance, while celebrating the culture, experiences and accomplishments of citizens with Mexican heritage.
*https://www.timeout.com, “Cinco de Mayo Celebrations 2012”, May 2012
**https://www.timeanddate.com, “Cinco de Mayo in United States”
***https://www.worldpopulationstatistics.com/los-angeles-population-2013/, “Los Angeles Population 2013”, Dec 2013
****https://www.history.com, “Cinco de Mayo”,
*****https://people.howstuffworks.com, “How Cinco de Mayo Works”, by Julia Layton
******https://www.pubcrawls.com, “New York City Cinco de Mayo PubCrawl”
*******https://www.timeout.com, “Where To Party For Cinco de Mayo”, May 2011
********https://www.huffingtonpost.com, “Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in New York City”, May 2013
*********https://nowyouknowevents.com, “Cinco de Mayo Chicago Festival in Douglas Park”