The Truth About Cinco de Mayo in Mexico

I’m a huge fan of celebrating holidays.  One of the things I enjoy most about living abroad is the ability to celebrate holidays in two (or more) different cultures.  After celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the US with Mexican food and mariachi music, I was REALLY excited to see how my Mexican friends celebrated Cinco de Mayo in Mexico.  I need to be honest with you dear readers, I was less than impressed.

I started to feel out the fiesta situation a couple of days before the holiday by asking my amigos,
            “So how do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo around here?”
They started laughing.
            “We work. We don’t get the day off.”
I replied,
            “No seriously, what do you do to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?”
They just started laughing again.

I really wanted to know what would happen but I wasn’t getting any answers, so I remained patient until the big day. 

Cinco de Mayo finally arrived and it was kind of like the morning after the Grinch took all of the Who’s gifts except no one was singing.  There were no signs, no decorations, no sombreros or overflowing bowls of chips.  I didn’t see a single Mariachi band.  I was confused; maybe I was simply in the wrong place.  So, I decided to have a date night downtown in the Plaza de Armas.  The Plaza de Armas is usually where people go to protest, listen to music, and eat food.  I like to think of it as Queretaro’s mini cultural center.  If there was going to be a party, here’s where it would happen.

In the Plaza we were greeted by a lot of people…at a protest.  We also saw the grim reaper, a French reenactor, and a few restaurants buzzing with the typical Friday evening crowd.  We were a little hungry, so Chris and I decided to have a really tasty dinner and take a stroll for a nightcap.
I'm guessing the Grim reaper was looking for a party too.

I was kind of bummed that all that was happening was a protest.  No fiesta here!

We were hungry so Chris and I decided to indulge in quest fundido with chorizo, a spicy Mexican sausage.

My Cinco de Mayo dinner also included arracherra, enchiladas queretianas, and frijoles.  So yummy!

In the middle of our cocktails, I heard some fireworks!  Was there going to be a celebration? I dashed outside the bar and saw one or two explosions.  I walked back in and asked our waitress if the explosions were for Cinco de Mayo.  She explained that they were from a church fair.  So much for Cinco de Mayo celebrations! 

This raspberry rum cocktail was yummy, but there was still no party.
People seemed to be more excited about the Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight the following night than Cinco de Mayo!

Apparently fight night is quite the event around these parts.

After doing a little research, I learned that while two states in Mexico celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the majority of Mexico doesn’t do much to celebrate.  What was once a holiday celebrating Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla has turned into more of a celebration of Mexican heritage in the United States. 

Apparently the real party is on September 16th, the Mexican Independence day!  At least I have another holiday coming in five months!  In the meantime, a belated feliz Cinco de Mayo to all!

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¡Viva México!