Cinco de Mayo

Celebrations and Events

••• © Aileen O'Catherine

Cinco de Mayo has become a holiday tradition in the United States for Mexican Americans much the way St. Patrick’s Day has for the Irish, or Chinese New Year for the Chinese. It’s a day to celebrate with music, food and dance. Cinco de Mayo is known for its parades, folklorico, mariachis and of course, its amazing food.

Here are some Cinco de Mayo events to celebrate Mexican culture, art and music.

I've also included some suggested alternate events and workshops, which feature Mexican roots and the influence of Mexico upon our city.

Updated for 2016.

Cinco de Mayo Celebration
When: May 5,  6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Where: South Broadway Cultural Center, 1025 Broadway SE
The South Broadway Cultural Center will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with music and dance. Ballet Folklorico Fiesta Mexicana and Mariachi Nuevo Sonido will perform, and there will be a presentation on the history of Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the U.S. by Dr. Irene Vasquez of UNM's Chicana and Chicano Studies Department. The event is free. 

Cinco de Mayo Folk Art and Music Festival
When: May 7, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: La Parada Mercantile, 8917 Fourth Street NW
Join over 30 New Mexican artists, crafters and folk artists for the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. Musicians include Alpha Blue, E. Christina Herr and Wild Frontier and Mariachi Amor Eternal.

A wild fiesta apron contest takes place at 1:45 p.m. in honor of Mother's Day. This is a free event.

Cinco de Mayo
When: May 7, Noon - 4 p.m.
Where: Mural Park, 7th and Douglas, Las Vegas, NM
Casa de Cultura will hold its annual Casa de Cultura, which will feature mariachi bands, Aztec dancers, Ballet Folklorico and more.

Take lounge chairs and umbrellas. This is a free event.

Fiestas del Cinco
When: April 24, Noon - 7 p.m. 
Where: Spanish Village, New Mexico Expo
Hear Domingo and more at the Fiesta del Cinco 2015 by Radio Lobo. The event is free, but a ticket is required; listen to Radio Lobo 97.7 to win your free tickets. Call Matt Rader at (505) 878-0980.

Exhibit: El Reatro Nuevomexicano Ahora
When: Through June 12, 2016. Tuesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Where: Art Museum, National Hispanic Cultural Center
The National Hispanic Cultural Center features portraiture by New Mexico artists. The exhibition features paintings, drawings and photographs of 11 New Mexico artists. 

Year Round
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Where: National Hispanic Cultural Center
What: Since opening its doors in 2000, the National Hispanic Cultural Center has provided visitors with a glimpse at the arts and cultures of Hispanics worldwide. The Center is located along the Rio Grande in one of Albuquerque's oldest neighborhoods, and offers visitors galleries, a library, a genealogy center, and lots of community events.

About Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo, or the Fifth of May, is a holiday celebrated in parts of Mexico as well as areas of the United States.

The day is also known as the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, when Mexican forces won in the military battle against the French forces of Napolean III.

On May 5, 1862, the rag tag forces under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French forces southeast of Mexico CIty. They won the battle, though French forces stayed in the area for the next five years. The Battle of Puebla became a symbol for the resistance against foreign rule. 

The day is celebrated in the state of Puebla to this day. There are reenactments of the battle, parades, and speeches. Though the day is mainly celebrated in Puebla in Mexico, the celebration came to the United States and is now celebrated in communities with a strong Mexican population. 

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, which takes place on September 16.

Mexican Independence Day was established in 1810.