Cinco de Mayo—What It Is(And Isn’t) and Where to Celebrate!


You’ve probably been celebrating Cinco de Mayo for years. Be honest—everyone loves a good excuse to down a few margaritas and that creamy queso dip! But, are you doing it correctly? And, do you even know why you’re celebrating at all? (Hint: it isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day)

So, what IS Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo commemorates a victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It was an important underdog victory, but ultimately France ended up occupying Mexico for a few years anyway. It’s also important to note that it isn’t widely celebrated in Mexico, mostly in Puebla and by Mexican-Americans north of the border.

When did we start celebrating in the United States?

Sometime in the 1960s, Mexican-Americans began taking pride in the holiday—and participating in the civil rights movement spreading across the United States. Then, in the late ’80s advertising for liquor and beer companies used it to their advantage and gave us the sad (and not nice), “Cinco de Drinko” nonsense we know today.

Listen, I’m not saying I haven’t been a part of these mislead celebrations in the past (please don’t take a trip down my Facebook memory lane). But, we live, learn and hopefully, CHANGE! So…

How can we celebrate responsibly?

  1. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES don a sombrero or fake mustache or shake maracas at anyone. Seriously. It’s extremely offensive and not only that—you look ridiculous.
  2. I’m not here to talk to you about politics, but immigration and “the wall” have been taking over the news as of late. If you’re celebrating a Mexican tradition, you should also be treating the people of Mexico (or, anywhere) with dignity and respect.
  3. Time to try out that authentic neighborhood Mexican restaurant. These are real people who need our support and I promise you the food will be much better than Chipotle!

Not sure where to start your celebrations?

Where to celebrate with the kiddos…

*For some of the best and most authentic Mexican food and margaritas in town, check out La Parada! I used to live across the street and it was dangerous! Alternatively, any family-owned joint near you will be amazing.

*Check out Festiva’s Cinco de Mayo tent party. It is family-friendly and features giant Jenga and a piñata for children with La Chinita Poblano tacos and Sun King beer for adults!

*Sprouts Cooking School is hosting a Cinco de Mayo night for both parents and kids! Enjoy making queso, homemade tortillas, fresh guacamole, and tacos!

And, without…

*Cinco de Mayo Pedal for a Purpose. Join a fun, lively and dynamic group of locals raising funds to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man and Woman of the Year campaign.

*Dance the night away at The Vogue with Indy’s best Latin DJ’s for Baila Noche Latina.

*Cholita de Mayo in Broad Ripple will feature complimentary tequila tasting, DJ’s and a live mural painting you can enter to win!

Have a few margaritas or coronas, listen to some traditional music, and responsibly and respectfully enjoy yourself!