Being married to a proud mexicano I am often asked what we do to celebrate 5 de mayo (May 5th, the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, see more here). Honestly, my husband didn’t celebrate it en grande in his 24 years growing up in Mexico- mostly they learned the history of the war, La Guerra de los Pasteles, and once in a while would get a day off of school. But now living in the US (and especially in Texas) we are embracing May 5th as a day to celebrate Latino heritage. This year we made some beautiful amate paintings, watched folkloric dances, and participated in a fun “cinco de mayo” party by making sopes and other goodies. We told the kids this was a festive time for both Mexico and the US to celebrate Mexican culture, and an opportunity for some to learn more about it.
Here are some ideas for you to learn about Mexican culture with your kids, and celebrate el 5 de mayo:
Mexican Folkloric Dance
Check out your local area or a nearby town to see if there are traditional dance performances. Ballet Folklórico ensembles often include several costumes and dances representing regions across Mexico, with lively music and swirling colorful skirts that keep kids enraptured.
Mexican Amate Craft
Teach your kids about a traditional Mexican folkart called amate /ah-MAH-tay/. Normally painted on the bark of fig trees, these brightly colored scenes can be painted on brown paper bags (learn more about its history and follow instructions here).
Have the kids view google images of beautiful examples of Mexican amate paintings and then create their own whimsical scenes of birds, flowers, and nature (or in the case of my son above, a Chinese dragon:).
Visit a Mexican bakery (look up panadería or pastelería in your local area or a nearby city). Let your kids pick out different pan dulce and then try them at home with good hot chocolate. Cacao was originally prepared in Mexico in 1900 BC. Columbus brought cocoa beans to Spain in 1502 and the rest is history (thank you Aztecs and Mayans!).
Learn about the Mexican Flag
Learn the history of the Mexican flag, and the meaning of the colors and central emblem.
Kids in the Kitchen
Throw out the pre-formed, hard tacos shells and orange cheese and make some authentic Mexican food! Here are recipes for easy and scrumptious dishes:
How do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Any great ideas that I’ve missed? Please share them in the comments!