Cinco de Mayo: A Cultural Deep Dive
As a global company, TransPerfect has access to many rich histories, and we value opportunities to honor the nationalities of our Freelance Expert community. We’re kicking off the month of May by highlighting Cinco de Mayo and looking at the ways a few of our Spanish-speaking localizers celebrate this day with their friends and loved ones.
While Cinco de Mayo celebrations have become increasingly popular within the United States, it isn’t as widely commemorated in Mexico—which might come as a surprise, as May 5th is commonly mistaken for Mexican Independence Day! The origins of Cinco de Mayo are tied to a pivotal moment in Puebla, Mexico’s history when Mexican forces defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla (La Batalla de Puebla) during the French-Mexican war. Although historical, winning the battle was not the most significant triumph within the war; it added much needed symbolic value to the 1862 Mexican government and their current resistance movement. Fast forward to present day and commemorating this battle has grown into commercialized celebration polarizing traditional Mexican, Hispanic, and Latino cuisine, and other symbols of their heritage.
If You Journey to Puebla, Mexico
While we’ve grown accustomed to “Americanized” representations of Cinco de Mayo, many aren’t as familiar with how (or to what extent) the holiday is actually celebrated. So, we asked a few of our Spanish-speaking freelancers to share their knowledge and experiences.
Many were candid in saying they let this day pass by like any other. However, they did share that, if someone wanted to authentically commemorate with the people who care the most about this day, it’s time to book a flight to Puebla, Mexico! Puebla is lauded as an excellent destination for exposure to culture and authenticity. It’s the fourth-largest city in Mexico, and well-known for its hospitality, restful ambiance, and bright colonial architecture. Go for the mild temperatures and stay for the flavorful culinary history and an encompassing look into their cultural art scene.
Authenticity is in Residence
Booking a trip not in your immediate future? Not a problem! If you have a desire to get into the spirit from the comfort of your own home, a number of our Spanish-speaking freelancers have offered up suggestions on authentic fare and activities for you to explore.
Food Fit for Family Time
- Pozole, which just sounds like a comfort food we all should add to our home-cooking staples, is a seasoned traditional Mexican soup made using hominy, meat, chili peppers, cabbage, onion, garlic, and avocado—and topped with fresh lime or a dollop of salsa. Want to make pozole at home? Here’s a helpful video: Rick Makes Pozole Verde (Mexican Stew) | From the Test Kitchen | Bon Appétit
- Sounding sweet enough to be a dessert, Chiles en nogada calls for poblano chiles stuffed with picadillo, and topped with a walnut-based cream sauce (nogada). To add to the sweetness, panochera apple, sweet-milk pear, and criollo peach are added.
- Proving veggies can steal the show is Elote, a sweet corn dish customarily smothered in a spicy mayo, with cream, chili powder, and cotija cheese. Elote is typically found at Mexican street fairs and festivals.
Click here for a video showing how you can bring the street fair into your own home today!
Drinks for the Occasion
- Fruit Water
- Flavored water (Jamaica or horchata)
Cooking might not be everyone’s jam, but if you’re still keen to participate, you can choose to support local businesses! If you’re in NYC, here are just a few places with takeaway or delivery options:
- Chavela's – Brooklyn
- Oyamel Cocina Mexican – Manhattan
- Rosa Mexicano – Manhattan
- De Mole – Brooklyn & Queens
- Chela Garnacha – Queens
With September being Hispanic Heritage Month, lookout for more blog posts to authentically engage with the Hispanic community. For other ways to show your support and interest, contemplate researching organizations that support cultural conservation and donate to them, or take virtual museum tours.
Museums are great resources as they often keep and restore cultural items that could have been used in celebrations like Cinco de Mayo. A few museums that are offering virtual options at this time are Museo Jumex, Soumaya Museum, Museo de Arte Zapopan, and the Amparo Museum! If you do explore restaurants and virtual education options, consider sharing your interaction on social media as many of these museums have hashtags celebrating their virtual outreach, and exposure is a great way to support alocal businesses.
Spanish-speaking freelance experts make up a large and important part of the TransPerfect family. Creating a human connection with our linguists, who work hard every day to provide quality services to our many clients, is something we strive for. We hope you enjoyed learning more about Cinco de Mayo and the many ways you can support and celebrate the holiday. Stay involved and if you try any of our suggestions feel free to tag us through our many active social media platforms!
Special thank you to the following freelance experts and consult for contributing to this blog:
- Daniela P.
- Catherine B.
- Diego A.
- Liliana M.
- Brenda M.