Viva Cinco de Mayo! Or—in English—the Fifth of May is upon us.
Cinco de Mayo is synonymous with fun and festivities complete with traditional Mexican food and drinks. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo does not commemorate Mexican Independence Day (that is actually celebrated on September 16 to mark the day in 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla proudly announced the overthrow of Spanish tyranny in his country). Instead Cinco de Mayo celebrates a victorious battle fifty years later when (to everyone’s surprise) a small Mexican army vanquished the powerful invading French troops at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
But enough of the history lesson. Let’s talk about the party!
Today Cinco de Mayo is celebrated around the globe with Mexican cuisine, parties, festivals, and parades.
Here are some of the fun facts about this special Mexican party day:
- While Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico it is much more widely observed in the United States where 33.6 million US residents come from Mexican heritage. The only really major celebration in Mexico happens in the village of Puebla where the actual battle occurred over 150 years ago.
- The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo party is the Festival de Fiesta Broadway in Los Angeles where annually more than 300,000 people gather together to celebrate the day by eating, drinking and dancing.
- Many US cities, including New York City, Denver and Houston, all throw large parties in honor of the day. In Chandler Arizona there are Chihuahua races and two of the lucky dogs are crowned ‘king’ and ‘queen’.
And let’s welcome the Three Stars of Cinco de Mayo:
- The star food of 05/05 is the Avocado, the key ingredient in guacamole, which is served in abundance on the day. According to the California Avocado Commission, Americans serve up to 81 million avocados on Cinco de Mayo!
- The second star on the Cinco de Mayo table is the Margarita. According to the Smithsonian magazine, this drink was apparently created by bartender Carlos Herrera for a dancer at his Tijuana restaurant in 1938. Blended or shaken, the margarita is a much-loved tangy drink that comes in a variety of flavors including strawberry, peach and mango.
- Third star of the day? The Tortilla. According to the United States Census, there are 367 tortilla manufacturing establishments in the US. Tortillas have often been nicknamed as the ‘bread of Mexico’ and have been the principal food of the Aztecs for centuries.
And we are celebrating this wonderful holiday in our own special way here at UC Davis Integrative Medicine. Here is an exclusive mouth-watering, super healthy Tortilla Soup recipe to mark the occasion, brought to us exclusively by Chef Ramses Bravo.