El Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—is a national holiday in Mexico. For residents in the U.S, including South Florida, it’s a much liked day, not only because it’s very easy to remember the date, but because it’s a day where family and friends come together and celebrate in the middle of the week.
Bars and restaurants are out to celebrate too. Festivities and meet-ups across South Florida are planned. Take a look back at what Cinco de Mayo is all about, along with some events planned across South Florida.
Cinco de Mayo History
Cinco de Mayo’s history has its roots in the French Occupation of Mexico. The French occupation took shape in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).
On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for a brief period of two years, with the promise that after this period, payments would resume, according to The University of California’s Chicano-Latino Network.
The English, Spanish and French refused to allow president Juarez to do this, and instead decided to invade Mexico and get payments by whatever means necessary. The Spanish and English eventually withdrew, but the French refused to leave. Their intention was to create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III.
In 1862, the French army began its advance. Under General Ignacio Zaragoza, 5,000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians defeated the French army in what came to be known as the “Batalla de Puebla” on the fifth of May.
Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo in the U.S.
In the United States, the “Batalla de Puebla” came to be known as simply “5 de Mayo.”
Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.
Ay, caramba! Celebrations Around South Florida
Espanola Way’s 11th Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival
Oh Mexico! Espanola Way
1440 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach FL 33139
Join in on the festivities on Thursday at 5 p.m. for the 11th Annual Cinco de Mayo’s Biggest Street Festival at Oh Mexico! Cantina Bar and all Espanola Way restaurants.
This years Cinco de Mayo Street Festival is that biggest festival yet featuring Live Bands, DJ’s, Stilt Walkers and special south of the border Mariachis & Mexican dancers. Party goers will be able to enjoy Mexican cuisine from Oh Mexico, enjoy Dos Equis cervezas, Sauza Tequila cocktails and free Margarita shots- that’s right we said free Margarita shots.
The street festival begins at 5pm and it is open to everyone- Viva Mexico!
297 NW 23 Street
Cafeina is joining forces with Jose Cuervo to present “Subterraneo,” a special Day of the Dead-themed celebration featuring the Spam All Stars, Suenalo, DJ A-Train and Mia Moretti.
The restaurant will also feature discounted Jose Cuervo cocktails and a specialty $5 menu featuring dishes like El Muerto (slowly roasted mini pork tacos with Jose Cuervo tequila cream & pico de gallo) and Mexico Lindo (homemade tortilla chips with refried beans, guacamole & jalapeno cheese dip).
Cinco Cantina & Tequila Bar
4521 San Lorenzo Street
Coral Gables, FL
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with its grand opening at the Village at Merrick Park. Enjoy drink specials and specially-priced bar bites indoors or out at the 366-seat space, the party runs from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Mercadito Midtown Restaurant
3252 NE 1 Avenue
Midtown Miami, FL
Mercadito brings the party to Midtown with live mariachi music, a special missionary’s punch cocktail and a $40 sharing menu featuring your choice of guacamoles, ceviches, tacos, side dishes and desserts.
Rosa Mexicano South Beach & Brickell
Rosa Mexicano South Beach: 1111 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; 305-695-1005
Rosa Mexicano Brickell: 900 S Miami Ave, Miami; 786-424-1001
Join Rosa Mexicano as they get festive with their 9th annual Festival Cinco de Mayo beginning at 11:30 a.m. The restaurant is launching its French margarita (one part tequila, two parts Grand Marnier), serving a special holiday menu and bringing a live DJ to both its South Beach & Brickell locations. The Brickell location will also host a Mexican-style street festival in the restaurant’s outdoor patio.
626 S Miami Avenue
Tobacco Road is hosting “Cinco De Drinko, Hot Peppa’ Palooza” from 6 p.m to 12 a.m. The fiesta features Patron Margaritas, Corona specials, Los Perros Mojados Mariachi Band, DJ Nocho-Ski, a Habanero Pepper eating contest and 15 food trucks, each serving a specialty salsa or sauce derived from a bounty of peppers.
Taco Beach Shack at Hollywood Beach Hotel
334 Arizona Street
Hollywood Beach, FL
What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with an outdoor beach party. The party will feature Corona beer bucket specials, live Latin band, senorita dancers and a menu featuring homestyle taquitos, burritos and quesadillas.
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar Across S. Fla.
1313 E Las OlasBlvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Rocco’s Tacos is hosting three “huge” block party celebrations in South Florida. Pop by its West Palm Beach, Boca or Ft Lauderdale locations for drink specials, live entertainment, mariachi bands and free tequila pourings.
The fun at each location runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hop on the Taco & Tequila express and join owner and “Cinco de Mayo king” Rocco Mangel for a party bus journey to all three locations. 70 tickets available, $200 each, includes open bar, food, t-shirt, hat and a bottle of Milagro tequila.
Tequila Ranch at Seminole Paradise
1 Seminole Way
Tequila Ranch at Seminole Paradise celebrates with a “sexy bull riding contest,” hourly raffles, dancers, live Latin entertainment and food and drink specials including $5 Cazadores margaritas. Join the party, beginning at 2 p.m.
B.B. Kings West Palm Beach
550 S Rosemary Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: 561- 420-8600
B.B. Kings West Palm Beach Presents it’s Cinco de Mayo After Dark Dance Party with Music By Dj & Producer: Soul Disorder. Join Soul Disorder for an especially celebratory evening of house & Trance and lots of sex appeal. Admission is $10. Must be 21 & over (casual dress code). Doors open at 11 p.m. For table reservations & guest list information call: 561.515.9497
World of Beer’s Cinco de Mayo fiesta!
101 N. Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
World of Beer will be featuring draft beer specials from Dos Equis XX, Negra Modelo and many other Mexican favorites. There is a live Latin band, Tony Succar and the Miami Mixtura, from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m, a complimentary taco bar from Gratify from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and give-aways all day and night. There will also be some pinatas on the patio containing some WOB gift cards.
Cinco de Mayo Festival in Homestead
Losner Park, Homestead Historic Downtown District
Saturday, May 7
12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
You will find the most authentic festivities for Cinco de Mayo at the Cinco de Mayo Festival in Homestead. This free event features traditional Mariachi music, folkloric dancers and Tejano music bands, as well as Jalapeno and Taco Eating contests. Learn how to make tortillas and piatas in the “Aprende Plaza” Vendors will be selling delicious Mexican food, fresh vegetables and fruits, traditional Mexican drinks and pan dulce. Special Performance by two-time Grammy award winner Jon Secada.