Rock Your Cinco de Mayo Party!
Viva warmer weather! Viva bright colors! Viva tasty food! Viva Mexico! Cinco de Mayo is a fun and festive celebration in both Mexico and the U.S., and a great reason to throw a party.
Often mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day, the date actually marks the 1862 Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican War, when an outnumbered and poorly armed Mexican militia took on the much larger and well-equipped French army. Although not a major turning point in the war, the victory is still celebrated as a national Mexican holiday.
History lesson aside, here are 7 easy tips for hosting a fun and authentic Cinco de Mayo celebration:
1. STARTERS: ROCK THE GUAC!
Make a batch of our homemade Fiesta Guacamole Salsa , then grab three CORELLE® SQUARETM PURE WHITE 10 OUNCE SQUARE DESSERT BOWLS and get creative. Fill the left-hand bowl with guac, put sour cream in the middle and place pico de gallo in the right-hand bowl. Then quick, snap a pic of your delish display that looks like the Mexican flag because it’ll be devoured in minutes.
2. GET REAL WITH YOUR MEAL.
Go for an authentic Mexican entrée, rather than Tex-Mex, like:
- Chiles rellenos, which originated in Puebla. Fresh chile peppers are roasted, stuffed with cheese, vegetables and/or meat, then covered in batter and fried. They’re even better if you use poblano peppers, another Puebla native.
- Tamales, a tasty masterpiece of masa, seasoned pork (or chicken or beef), cheese and veggies, stuffed into cornhusks and steamed to perfection.
- Mole sauce, a thick chili-pepper-based concoction, can be spiced with a wide variety of flavorful ingredients like garlic, onion, cinnamon or chocolate.
3. TAP INTO FLOWER POWER.
Brightly colored tissue paper flowers are festive and so easy to make! (You also can find kits or premade blooms.) To make your own:
- Stack four sheets of 6″ x 12″ colorful tissue paper; starting from the bottom of the 6-inch end, accordion-pleat the paper five times. You should end up with a 1″ x 6″ folded piece.
- Cut one or two points at both ends of the piece, and fold the piece in half so the cut ends overlap.
- Bend a pipe cleaner in half, place the bend around the center of the paper and twist the pipe cleaner tightly to create the stem.
- Gently fan out the trimmed paper petals, one layer at a time, to create a blossom.
4. PARADE YOUR PAPEL PICADO.
A beautiful Mexican folk-art tradition of cutting elaborate designs into colorful tissue paper, artists use a small hammer and chisel to create as many as 50 banners at a time. With the right supplies, plus time and a little patience, you can make your own!
- Gather scissors (normal and decorative edged), colored tissue paper, string, tape and an iron.
- Cut the tissue paper into rectangles (8” x 11” or smaller).
- Fold the paper like an accordion four to five times and cut small shapes and patterns into the folded paper (like making paper snowflakes).
- Finish by using decorative-edge scissors to cut along the ends of the folded paper.
- Unfold, smooth the creases with a cool iron, and tape each panel to a long piece of string.
- Hang and admire! You can also use them like placemats on your table.
5. WHATTA PIÑATA!
Fun for kids and adults alike. Pick one up at a party store, or make your own (kids are great helpers!). Start several days ahead of the party, as it will need time to dry between steps.
- 1 large latex balloon
- tissue paper
- craft glue
- craft wire
- flour and water
- plastic or paper to protect your work surface
- Blow up the balloon for a round or egg-shaped piñata. Create other shapes and designs by attaching extra balloons, cardboard tubes or other supplies with tape.
- Make a paste by mixing equal parts of flour and water (start with 1-1/2 cups of each).
- Cut newspaper into 1-inch-wide strips, dip them into the paste, wipe off excess using your fingers and lay the strips over the balloon, overlapping until the balloon is covered entirely.
- Once you’ve finished, switch the direction of the strips and do a second layer.
- Let dry for 24 hours, flipping it halfway through.
- When your piñata is dry, decorate with colored tissue paper squares. Wrap a tissue paper square around the eraser section of a pencil (you can double up the squares for a fuller look). Dip the pencil end of the paper into glue and press it onto the piñata. Repeat until the entire piñata has been covered. Then use the craft wire to create a handle for hanging by pressing it through both sides and looping up over the top of the piñata.
- Finally, fill the piñata with your favorite treats and hang it in a safe place until you’re ready to let the kids (of all ages) have a swing at it!
6. TAILOR YOUR TUNES.
Create your own Cinco de Mayo playlist with a mix of mariachi, Tejano, banda and Mexican cumbia—all authentic and fun to dance to. If you’re feeling ambitious, look up instructional dance videos online or even hire an instructor to give a lesson.
7. DA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA, TEQUILA!
Silver, Gold, Anejo or Reposado, all tequila hails from a plant called blue agave, primarily cultivated in Mexico. The many ways to enjoy it include:
- Margaritas—The traditional recipe calls for tequila, orange-flavored liqueur and freshly squeezed lime juice. If you like a salty rim, use kosher salt or another coarse grind. You can also sweeten it up with sweet-and-sour mix (homemade or premade), fresh fruit juice or puree (try orange, strawberry or mango).
- Tequila Sunrise—An eye-opening combo of pretty layers of tequila, OJ and grenadine.
- Bloody Marias—Mix together tomato juice, spices and a little ai-ai-ai!
- Straight—On-the-rocks, neat or down-the-hatch-quick, this is the way to experience the true flavor (and fire).
As if you need another reason to dig into chips and salsa…it’s time to grab your sombrero and get your
YOUR TURN: How will you celebrate this fun holiday from our southern neighbors?