South Central

8 Free Cinco de Mayo Celebrations that Are Great for Families

First let's set the record straight: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, and—while the festivals might look similar—confusing the two holidays is as gringo as, say, putting pastrami in a taco. (Actually, scratch that—LA is pretty darned proud of its pastrami tacos.) Let's simply agree that just because the US named its independence holiday 4th of July doesn't mean that Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) is Mexico's independence day. What the day actually celebrates is an underdog Mexican victory over a French military attack on Puebla, Mexico in 1862. The holiday is mostly observed in Puebla and in Southern California, where there's little mention of the French, but much swinging at piñatas and dancing to mariachis. After all, by the first weekend of May, who needs more excuse than that to revel in the sunshine?

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