What is Cinco de Mayo? 4 events to celebrate in London 2022

by Viridiana Marin Marin

Many people believe that Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, is Mexico’s Independence Day, but they are wrong! Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrating the Mexican Army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 during the Franco-Mexican War, and has become a major annual celebration of Mexican culture and heritage outside of Mexico.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a day like any other, it’s not a public holiday, so offices, banks and shops remain open as usual. In contrast, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in a big way in the United States and the rest of the world, especially in areas with a large Mexican population. But what’s Cinco de Mayo and what’s the true meaning of this day?

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in which Mexico defeated the French. It all began when Mexico was financially ruined and President Benito Juárez, a lawyer and member of the indigenous Zapotec tribe, was forced to stop paying debts to European governments.

Cinco de Mayo is an important day in the history of Mexico. It commemorates the day when 2,000 Mexican soldiers, made up of guerrillas and brave Mexicans ready to defend their homeland, under the command of Ignacio Zaragoza, fought 7,000 soldiers of the French army, which hadn’t been defeated for almost 50 years, and won one of the few victories against an invading foreign army. But the victory wasn’t final, as the French army grew stronger again and, under the command of Luis Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s nephew, joined the Mexican conservatives to impose a monarchy.

In June 1864 Maximilian of Habsburg and his wife Carlota (both Austrians) arrived in Mexico City to take possession of the newly founded Mexican Empire and were crowned Emperor and Empress of Mexico.

Nevertheless, the Battle of Puebla in Mexico is an important historical event for Mexico and all Mexicans around the world, and the actual celebration of Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to bring together all Mexicans living abroad to remember the courage and unity of their people, and a chance for all to share the real mexican culture and traditions with the rest of the world.

Are you ready for a Cinco de Mayo party? This 2022 there are some Cinco de Mayo celebrations in London that you can’t miss.

4 events to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in London in 2022

For all Londoners interested in Mexican culture, this is an opportunity to sample traditional dishes, dance cumbias and sing mariachi. Some of the events take place at different venues around the city and we’ve rounded up some Cinco de Mayo celebrations for you this 2022 in London:

La Piñata Tequila Festival

More than 20 tequila and mezcal producers celebrate agave spirits and Mexican culture, offering you the chance to sample some of the best tequilas and mezcals. From margaritas to michelada, plus guided tastings and panel discussions, this event is the perfect excuse to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in London.

Cinco de Mayo in Bedford Square

A feast of explosive dishes from an 8-course tasting menu featuring Guacamole & Totopos, Bluefin Tuna Ceviche, Spicy Pork Quesadilla, Bone Marrow Esquites, Grilled Prawn Fajita, Grilled Mushroom, Padron Peppers Skewers, Carne Asada Taco and Arroz on Leche, created by Chef Andrew Wong and a team from Sketch and Notting Hill Fish + Meat.

  • Where: 14 Bedford Square
  • When: Thu, 5 May
  • Price: £129.95

Margarita masterclass

Join a night of tequila tasting and margarita making to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Learn how to make the perfect margarita from Dami Whitfield – Cazcabel’s UK brand ambassador and agave expert – and sample Cazcabel’s full range of delicious tequilas, including Blanco, Reposado, Coffee and Honey. The masterclass lasts about 1 hour, but you can also stay and taste margaritas and tacos inspired by Chef Jazu Jim’s recent trip to Mexico.

  • Where: Jazu bar, 31 Peckham Road SE5 5SB
  • When: Fri, 6 May
  • Price: £16.76

Cinco de Mayo fiesta

It’ll be an evening of food, margaritas and “some funky Latin beats” where you can choose between a 4-course menu with octopus, crab chorizo or mushroom dishes.

Follow us on IG as @mexibrits to keep up to date with more events and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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