5 Inspired Ideas for a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Use these tricks to celebrate Mexican heritage the right way

Throwing a Cinco de Mayo party this year? Nix the sombreros, ponchos and fake mustaches. The holiday, celebrated on May 5, honors the Mexican army’s win over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 and has since become a global celebration of Mexican heritage—of which clichéd décor can come off as stereotypical and disrespectful.

To host a true Mexican fiesta and commemorate the country’s culture, try these ideas instead:

Decorate with the Colors of Mexico

Cinco de Mayo is all about championing Mexican heritage, so put the country at center stage. Use red, green and white—the colors of Mexico’s flag—as the main tenets of your Cinco de Mayo design. Include the hues in floral centerpieces, decorative desserts and other décor elements, such as papel picado, intricate paper designs that can be strung together into banners, or paper lanterns.

Offer Traditional Fare

For an authentic Mexican menu, try street tacos on small corn tortillas, grilled corn and mole—a traditional Mexican sauce that can often call for an eclectic mix of more than 20 ingredients, including chiles, chocolate, peanuts and garlic.

Add a Splash of Tequila

Another staple of Mexican celebration culture? Tequila. So, consider hosting a tasting for guests to sample variants from around Mexico. Tequila is best served at room temperature in stemmed glasses with a short bowl, similar to a white wine glass. And, like any event with alcohol, be sure to offer food for attendees to snack on throughout the tasting to avoid any potential alcohol-related mishaps.

Revisit History Through Song

If you want to teach guests the history behind Cinco de Mayo, skip the lecture. During the Franco-Mexican War, corridos—long, narrative ballads that addressed politics and daily life—were the most popular music in Mexico. Still common today, corridos can perfectly double as a beautiful soundtrack to your meeting and a brief history lesson. 

Hit the Dance Floor

Dance is used as a way to celebrate in cultures around the world, and Mexico is no exception. Consider having instructors teach guests traditional Mexican dances, such as jarabe tapatío, the country’s national dance.