So, here in Texas, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated as a time to honor Mexican and Mexican-American traditions and contributions to our community. Originally Cinco de Mayo was celebrated primarily in the Mexican state of Puebla as a commemoration of the victory of the small Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It was considered a major feat for the smaller and lesser equipped Mexican forces to emerge victorious. While recognized in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily an American holiday. It has been celebrated consistently in California since the 1860s and in communities with large Mexican American populations since the early twentieth century. I grew up celebrating Cinco de Mayo at school, learning about Mexican-American folk music, dance and food. While it is often an excuse for margaritas and parties (not unlike the 4th of July?), it also offers an opportunity to learn a little about and recognize the the influence of Mexico and Mexican Americans as part of our national heritage.
So, break out the mariachi music, some bilingual storybooks, some Mexico-inspired crafts and have a fiesta!
A few books:
What Can You Do With A Paleta? by Carmen TafollaCada Niño, Every Child by Tish Hinojosa (this is a bilingual songbook)
Diego Rivera, His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh
P is for Piñata: A Mexico Alphabet by Tony Johnston
Cinco de Mayo by Mary Dodson Wade
For great children’s books about the Mexican American experience, visit the website of the Tomás Rivera Book Award Winners
Folklorico Dancer coloring page from Crayola.com
Piñata coloring page from Crayola.com
Instructions for kids craft making Papel Picado (cut tissue paper banners) from teachkidsart.net
Cinco de Mayo Mexican-themed crafts for kids from Celebrations
¡Viva La Fiesta!
Photo Credit: “little folklorico” from arianne via Flickr