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Cinco de Mayo: Puebla vs. Los Angeles

1901 Poster for Cinco de Mayo
1901 Poster for Cinco de Mayo

It is often written that Cinco de Mayo is more celebrated in the United States than in Mexico, but not so in the city of Puebla, where the original battle with Napoleon’s French army took place in 1862. A huge parade is held with a crowd estimated at half a million people watching. One of those people a couple of years ago was blogger Maxine George, and she described the parade: “Dancers in folklorico costumes with bright ruffled skirts and pretty tasseled hats, nurses in crisp white uniforms and soldiers with painted faces camouflaged either in leafy green and brown or in black with an orange sun streak across their cheeks, proudly strode past my seat on the viewing stand.” Correspondent Dick Davis for OurMexico.com also witnessed the parade and reported: “Vendors were setting up taco stands; straw hats and bright colored umbrellas took over the sidewalk. Vendors sold cotton candy, watermelons, mangos, tacos Arabes, confetti, belts, jicama, aguas(Mexican fruit punch) in a dozen flavors, custard, paper hats for the unprepared, (I bought one, didn’t want sunburned ears), French fries, chips, fried pork skins, folding chairs, folding stools, popsicles, snow cones, slushes, lucky charm bracelets, Jello, fresh squeezed orange juice, chalupas, Polaroid pictures, soft drinks, bottled water (I brought my own), carrots, peeled in plastic bags, unshelled peanuts, balloons, sunglasses and more.”

Puebla: Flamenco Dancers in the Parade
Puebla: Flamenco Dancers in the Parade
Los Angeles claims their Cinco de Mayo Festival, called Fiesta Broadway, is the largest in the world, but usually it’s held on a different date. About.com describes the event: “Half a million people come out for this annual street party covering 24 square blocks of Downtown Los Angeles. The main event runs just over a mile along Broadway from the Main Stage at Olympic at the south end to another stage at 1st Street to the north. A third stage is located at 9th Street. In between you’ll find lots of food, fun and games for the whole family. Although ostensibly celebrating the Fifth of May, the event usually takes place the last Sunday of April.
Los Angeles: Fiesta Broadway
Los Angeles: Fiesta Broadway
Events tied to Cinco de Mayo also occur outside Mexico and the United States. For example, a sky-diving club near Vancouver, Canada, holds a Cinco de Mayo skydiving event. In the Cayman Islands, in the Caribbean, there is an annual Cinco de Mayo air guitar competition. As far away as the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, revelers are encouraged to drink Mexican beer on May 5. The city of Brisbane, Australia, also holds an annual Mexican Festival to honor the day. More images from Cinco de Mayo.

AboutDave Dewitt

Dave is known in the media as "The Pope of Peppers" because of the 36 books he's written on chile peppers and spicy food around the world. He's also co-producer of the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show and editor and publisher of the Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite at www.fiery-foods.com. His latest book, with chile breeder Dr. Paul Bosland, is The Complete Chile Pepper Book.

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