N Good Health and the Hispanic Organization of Latinx Awareness (HOLA) Employee Resource Group are excited to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with you! We invite you to learn about the true reason for celebrating Cinco de Mayo and enjoy recipes for authentic and delicious Mexican foods.
Many people are under the impression that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican Independence Day. This is not the case. In truth, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla, which took place in 1862. This holiday is not celebrated very widely in Mexico. However, in the United States, it has evolved into a festive celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.
Before the Battle of Puebla, Mexico was struggling under debt owed to foreign nations. France sought to take advantage of these struggles by sending their army to capture land. The Mexican army was sent to defend Puebla with a relatively small group of about 4,000 soldiers. The French had nearly twice that number, along with better training and equipment. Despite these disadvantages, the Mexican army emerged victorious against the invaders, which was a great source of pride for the nation.
The Chicano movement of the 1940s and 1950s saw many Mexican Americans advocating for greater social and political rights within the United States. It was during this time that people in the United States began celebrating Cinco de Mayo more widely. The Battle of Puebla inspired pride nearly a century earlier, and the day would once again represent pride and appreciation for Mexican heritage. The holiday became even more popular in the 1980s, when American companies joined in the celebration to promote food and beverage products. This helped to spark the culinary appreciation that is part of the holiday today.
Many people associate Cinco de Mayo with delicious food. As we celebrate the flavors and dishes we’ve come to appreciate today, let’s take a look back at the culinary history that paved the way.
Authentic Mexican food traces its roots to a wide variety of influences. The Mayans, Aztecs and Spanish contributed ingredients that would go on to become staples. With help from these sources, traditional Mexican food features a blend of corn, beans, chiles (hot peppers), rice, tomatoes, avocado and many more elements. These ingredients can show up in many forms and recipes. Corn, for example, can become tortillas, tamales or pozole, which is a robust stew. Beans and peppers are often featured in traditional cooking because they are nutritious, affordable and grow well in Mexican climates.
N Good Health and HOLA encourage you to check out the HOLA ERG page on Nsite, where you can find a few authentic Mexican recipes in the documents folder.