Cinco de Mayo (a relatively minor holiday in Mexico) has become a huge day to par-tay in the United States. Margaritas, shots of tequila, chips and salsa, street festivals & mariachi music abound. But why are we celebrating? Many Americans aren’t aware of what Cinco de Mayo is really all about besides the festivities!
Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, (September 16th) but actually, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).
In late 1861, Mexico was invaded by Spain, France and Great Britain. Within six months Spain and Britain pulled out. With the U.S. Civil War raging north of the Mexican border, the French decided to take advantage of the chaos and invade Mexico.
The French made inroads in April 1862, but in May, at the town of Puebla, under the command of Ignacio Zaragoza, a small Mexican army defeated a larger French contingent and it’s been celebrated ever since. The French did eventually take over Mexico and establish the Second Mexican Empire under the Emperor Maximilian.
My favorite way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is with some homemade guacamole and a refreshing margarita made with fresh lime juice and no preservatives.
Guacamole has its roots in Aztec culture when the native peoples would mash the plentiful avocados with a mortal and pestle called a molcajete. They would often add tomatoes and salt to make it more tasty. The name is derived from two Aztec Nahuatl words—ahuacatl (avocado) and molli (sauce).
Five fun facts about avocados:
- The Aztec word for avocado was ahuacatl, which means “testicle tree”.
- Spanish explorers could not pronounce ahuacatl, so they called the avocado aguacate. This is the origin of the word guacamole.
- Avocados contain more potassium than bananas.
- Mexico is the world’s top producer of avocados, with California coming in second.
- Avocados have the highest protein content of any fruit.
Guacamole is so easy to make, just add all ingredients and mash with a fork!
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt salt
- 1 Tbsp of fresh lime juice or lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup of minced onion
- 1 minced serrano chile, (remove the stems and seeds)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro finely chopped
- A dash of grated black pepper
- 1/2 ripe tomato, chopped
Yes, margaritas are delicious but they often contain high amounts of calories and sugar. Unless the margarita is homemade, chances are the bartender is using a packaged margarita mix, which is like drinking a soda. I prefer to make my own, a healthier version that still tastes amazing!
Marla’s favorite margarita recipe:
- 2 ounces tequila
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the tequila, freshly squeezed lime and orange juice and agave nectar. Shake for 60 seconds. Strain the pure heavenly liquid into a glass and garnish with a slice of lime, or orange. (you can serve straight up or on the rocks.)
What ever you choose to do this Cinco de Mayo, enjoy, stay safe & healthy. I would love to hear what your traditions are below in the comments!
Hasta La Vista Baby!