Cinco de Mayo: Holiday Facts for Kids

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Every year on May 5th, it’s time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. You might already be making tacos or planning a backyard get-together for the occasion. These Cinco de Mayo fun facts will hopefully make the day more special for you and the kids. What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of the day in 1862 when Mexico reigned supreme over the French Empire in the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles. The victory is that much sweeter since General Ignacio Zaragoza’s Mexican Army was significantly outnumbered, so their feat bolstered the Mexicans.

I have plenty of fun, fascinating, and historical Cinco de Mayo facts for kids that ought to get everyone more interested in Mexican history as well as the mood to celebrate!

Cinco de Mayo Facts for Kids

Cinco de Mayo Is a More Popular Holiday in the United States Than in Mexico

Given Cinco de Mayo’s origins, you may wonder, why does anyone outside of Mexico even celebrate it? 

Mexican-Americans living in the United States gave the holiday prominence again. Rather than celebrate a war battle, Cinco de Mayo was now a chance to celebrate Mexican-American heritage.

Even those who aren’t Mexican or Mexican-American can get in on the fun, and in doing so, are boosting ethical consciousness.

By learning more Cinco de Mayo facts and celebrating Cinco de Mayo with children, you can show your kids the value of other cultures. 

You Can Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Many Fun Ways

When it comes to the amount of Cinco de Mayo celebrations, the options are nearly endless!

Perhaps you decorate your home or your child’s school building (with their teacher’s permission, of course). Whether with banners, pinatas, quizzes on Cinco de Mayo facts, or even homemade maracas, these are all great ways to get into the spirit of Cinco de Mayo.

Whip up some authentic Mexican meals such as tacos. For kids, fill-them-yourself tacos will let them choose the ingredients they want so they don’t eat anything too spicy and get an upset stomach.

Don’t forget about dessert! Flan or tres leches cake is a sweet note to end the day on

Cinco de Mayo Is Not Mexico’s Independence Day

In the US, we have our Independence Day on July 4th. Many people outside Mexico tend to confuse Cinco de Mayo with “Día de la Independencia,” or Mexico’s independence day.

Mexican Independence Day also known as “El Grito de la Independencia,” is observed months later on September 16th

The name Cinco de Mayo simply translates to May 5th.

The first Mexican Independence Day was in 1810. On September 16th that year, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest, used his church bell to warn of the incoming rebellion that began the Mexican War of Independence.

100 Million Americans Were Estimated to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in 2021

Cinco de Mayo may be a much smaller deal in Mexico, but not on American soil.

To show what an impact it’s made here in the US, 100 million US citizens were estimated to partake in the festivities in 2021 according to Globe NewswireOpens in a new tab.. That’s quite the celebration!

About 70 to 80 Million Pounds of Avocadoes Are Eaten Every Cinco de Mayo

You can’t have authentic Mexican cuisine without guacamole, and guac comes from avocados. 

On May 5th alone, avocado consumption ramps way up. Globe Newswire says that in 2021, it’s estimated that Americans would consume 70 million pounds of the green fruit (yep, avocados are fruit!) on Cinco de Mayo alone.

In celebrations past, it’s been as many as 80 million pounds of avocados. That’s a lot of guac! 

Kids Get the Day Off for Cinco de Mayo in Mexico

As I said, in Mexico itself, Cinco de Mayo is not nearly as widely celebrated as it is elsewhere in the world. Even still, the kids don’t have to go to school that day.

In the US, despite that this country observes May 5th more jubilantly, children still must attend classes if May 5th falls on a weekday. Sorry! 

Cinco de Mayo Is Not Called That in Mexico

Although the name Cinco de Mayo is easy enough to remember, that’s not what the holiday is referred to in Mexico. Instead, it’s called El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, which translates to the Day of the Battle of Puebla.

California Is the Reason Cinco de Mayo Is as Big as It Is in the US

How exactly did Cinco de Mayo come to be a de-facto holiday in the US? You can thank the state of California for that.

In the 1860s, in the town of Columbia, California, Mexican miners expressed their happiness and excitement over the Mexican army’s victory. The miners gave speeches, sang, lit off fireworks, and even shot their rifles.

That sounds like a celebration to me! 

The Hard Rock Café in the Cayman Islands Used to Hold an Annual Air Guitar Competition on Cinco de Mayo

For several years in the late 2000s, the Cayman Islands’ Hard Rock Café was the place to be on Cinco de Mayo, as you could bear witness to the Air Guitar Championships. 

Although the event was very popular and ran consecutively for at least three years, it appears that at some point around the 2010s that Hard Rock in the Cayman Islands stopped being associated with the Air Guitar Championships.

The annual championship is still ongoingOpens in a new tab.. The international Air Guitar Championships are held in Finland every year too. 

Cinco de Mayo Has Three Trademark Colors

Like Christmas has red and green and Easter pastels, Cinco de Mayo has a color scheme associated with it as well. 

The holiday’s colors are those proudly emblazoned on the Mexican flag: green, white, and red. 

Each color has a special meaning. Green is indicative of hope, white is for unity and peace, and red is a remembrance of the bloodshed spilled on Mexican ground. 

Whether you decorate your house in the three colors or incorporate them into an outfit, now you and the kids can celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style.

Mole Poblano Is the True Cinco de Mayo Dish

Everyone goes nuts on Cinco de Mayo buying or making tacos, but the traditional Mexican food associated with this holiday has nothing to do with shredded meat or tortillas.

Instead, it’s mole poblano, a type of chocolate sauce with spices such as chili peppers. 

Mexicans prefer dousing chicken with mole poblano and then enjoying the meal with a side of rice.

Maybe this year, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, you and the kids make homemade mole poblano. It certainly beats the long wait at restaurants. 

Mexican Restaurants Continue Booming in the US

Speaking of restaurants, on Cinco de Mayo, Mexican restaurants are always packed to the gills as people look to celebrate the day with authentic cuisine.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of US-based Mexican restaurants. According to IBISWorldOpens in a new tab., in 2021, the country has 47,923 Mexican restaurants across all 51 states. That number has only gone up steadily since 2012!

Cinco de Mayo Didn’t Become an Official US Holiday Until 2005

Every day, there’s some small holiday to celebrate, from Public Sleeping Day in February to Lilac Sunday in June and Boss’s Day in October. Yet it’s the calendared holidays that get the most attention, and rightfully so.

Under President George W Bush, Cinco de Mayo became one of those calendared holidays in 2005 when the US Congress approved it as such.

Canadians Have an Interesting Way of Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

How you celebrate a holiday is up to you, and that’s true of Cinco de Mayo as well. Rather than dancing or sampling Mexican cuisine, Canada honors the 5th of May with what’s known as a skydiving boogie.

Arizona Has Chihuahua Races Every Cinco de Mayo

How fast can a Chihuahua run? That’s what they find out in Chandler, Arizona every year on May 5th when they host the Chihuahua Races as their way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. 

Up to 16 qualifying rounds occur, leaving eight dogs left to compete in the big race. Those chihuahuas scamper on an expansive track that’s 60 feet long. The king and queen are then crowned. 

Thank you for sharing!

Catherine Cruzz

I first fell in love with all things kitchen when I was growing up and working alongside my father in Florida at our family's appliance service and installation company. Many years later, and thousands of miles away from family I was enjoying a wonderful experience at a culinary school in Pennsylvania. That’s when I realized that along with my passion for holidays and cooking, I was still just as interested in the appliances, kitchenware, and cookware that I grew up around.

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