Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo was first celebrated in Texas in 1867 as a source of cultural pride. The roots of Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “the fifth of May”) trace back to a fascinating history , the French Occupation of Mexico, and tie to the preservation of independence of … America. Yep.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces in the Battle of the Puebla on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday in Mexico (Independence day, a national holiday, is celebrated September 16th), but it is celebrated with fiestas and parades in Mexico’s state of Puebla and in parts of the U.S.

Cinco de Mayo has since taken on significance as a celebration of heritage and pride among Mexicans and Latinos/Hispanics living in the U.S., as well as being celebrated as a Civil War holiday in Puebla, Mexico. This is important to note, especially if you have adopted a child of Hispanic/Latino descent.

But let’s say that your daughter or son was born in Congo or Ukraine or China, or …, I still encourage you to celebrate this and other unique holidays, not of your or you child’s birth culture. Why?

  • Because you are modeling to your child that you are tolerant of others outside of his/her birth culture, that you embrace all people. Tolerance is taught. Tolerance is significant within any trans- and multiracial family (and I believe any family).
  • Celebrating other cultures will likely be a conversation starter; you are likely to be peppered with questions about your child’s birth culture. These conversations might also lead into questions and further discussion—about adoption.
  • Celebrations are fun. Trying new foods and discovering other’s customs, and the history behind them, is interesting. Doing it together as a family is wonderful.

Recipes and ideas for great kids’ crafts, parties can be found here and here. Below are some helpful books about Cinco de Mayo.

  • Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo, by Diane MacMillian, tells of the people and events that are behind Mexico’s Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo, and how these holidays are celebrated. (Ages 4-8)
  • Viva Mexico! The Story of Benito Juarez and Cinco de Mayo, by Argentina Palacios, Howard Berelson, and Alex Haley, chronicles the rise of Juarez, a Zapotec Indian, who grew up to become the President of Mexico and lead his country in a war for independence. (Ages 9-12)
  • Cinco de Mayo, by Sarah Vasquez, introduces children to Cinco de Mayo. (Ages 9-12)
  • The Latino Holiday Book From Cinco de Mayo to Dia de Los Muertos: The Celebrations and Traditions of Hispanic-Americans, by Valerie Menard, provides an overview of each holiday’s religious/social history, customs, and foods and/or activities. Representative recipes and crafts ideas are also included.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.