Get in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo with fun facts and activity ideas.

By Ellen Neuborne

The fifth of May -- Cinco de Mayo in Spanish -- is a national holiday in Mexico, although it is generally celebrated in Mexican-American communities in the U.S. on a much larger scale. It commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory was an important step for Mexico in her fight for independence. Today in Mexico, and in Mexican-American communities, May 5 brings celebrations, fiestas, and parades.

Fun Facts About Cinco de Mayo

  • It is often confused with the Mexican Independence Day, which occurred on September 16, 1810, about 50 years earlier.
  • Cinco de Mayo is one of more than 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent.
  • The holiday was popularized in the U.S. in part by Chicano activists in the 1960s and 1970s, who identified with the Mexican Indian and mestizo (people of Mexican Indian and European descent) soldiers' triumph over European conquest attempts.
  • Cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston host annual Cinco de Mayo festivities that draw hundreds of thousands of celebrants.

Cinco de Mayo Activity

Make Your Own Mini Maracas

What You Need:

  • 2 empty film canisters
  • 2 Popsicle sticks
  • Colored vinyl tape
  • Black marker or paint
  • Rice, dry beans, or beads
  • Scissors


1. Paint the Popsicle sticks black.

2. Decorate the sticks and the containers using colored vinyl tape. (For example, use red, green, and white stripes to represent the Mexican flag.)

3. Cut a slit in the canister tops to hold the craft sticks securely.

4. Fill the containers half full with rice, beans, or beads.

5. Replace the tops. Push in the crafts sticks.

Source: Healthy Kid


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