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Cinco de Mayo recipes, tips and music for a party that's muy bueno!

Menu, margarita and music ideas for a seriously fun fiesta.

Menu, margarita and music ideas for a seriously fun fiesta

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

This article was originally published May 1, 2017 and was updated May 3, 2019.

In order to throw the best Cinco de Mayo event, you've gotta consider what to eat and drink, the music you need to create the right mood, also what games to plan to keep your guests entertained. Most importantly, you should also know a little about Cinco de Mayo! We've got you covered on all fronts. Take a read, find some inspiration below, and start planning your celebration.

Step one: Know what you're celebrating

Cinco de Mayo is a day commemorating the 1862 Battle of Puebla, which happened on the 5th of May. During the battle the Mexican army beat the more powerful French army, sending them into retreat. Contrary to what you might think, Cinco de Mayo isn't actually as big a celebration in Mexico as it is in the United States (Mexico's Independence Day on September 16th is a much bigger deal for the country), but perhaps that underdog story is behind the popularity of this day in North America… Los Angeles, California, now hosts the largest Cinco de Mayo party in the world. Our friends over at CBC Kids actually have a great primer on Cinco de Mayo, including why and how it's celebrated in different cities and it's worth a read.

Step two: Figure out what fabulous, festive food to serve

First off, may we suggest you get your hands on some avocados and cut them into flowers for edible and super cute table decor. Then pick a few more items from this crowd-pleasing list of easy Mexican-inspired favourites. Good luck choosing!

Wes Avila's Sweet Potato Tacos

Mushroom And Fideo Taco

Sheet Pan Shrimp and Pineapple Tacos

(Photo: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

Keto-Friendly Bendy Tortillas

Kid-Approved Taco Cups

Tex-Mex Tortilla Frittata

Guacamole with Grilled Jalapenos

(Photo: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

'Oh She Glows' Chili Cheese Nachos

(Photography by Ashley McLaughlin)

Liv B's Fully-Loaded Vegan Nachos

Step three: Don't forget the drinks

No fiesta is complete without a perfectly-mixed margarita. Why not get a little creative and try making these tart-sweet and thirst-quenching palomas? And if you're throwing a super-sized bash and need something to serve a crowd, save time by whipping up a batch of beergaritas.

Low-Cal Watermelon Margarita

Pink Grapefruit and Chamomile Palomas

(Photography by Doan Ly )

Beergarita

(Credit: Jackson Roy)

Step four: Party music, of course

You'll want the most dramatic mariachi songs about love or betrayal playing on your stereo when the guests walk in, or something from Latin America's superstar, Luis Miguel. If it's not warm enough to host your party outside and have guests dancing on the grass, you're going to want to consider pushing the couch aside to get the dance floor ready.

If you're a Spotify subscriber, you can also queue up these playlists:

Cinco De Mayo Dance Party

Cinco De Mayo Fiesta

The LeeCo Cinco De Mayo Party

Or over on Apple Music, save these for the night:

Mexican Music Parties & Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo - Salsa Party

Mexican Mariachi Party

Classic Mexican Celebration

And be sure the classic song La Cucaracha is somewhere in the mix. Yes, it may be about those awful little pests, but it's a classic.

Lastly, here's a little-known party tip that'll help with the ambiance: set the music louder at the beginning of the night when your guests are arriving and gradually turn it down as the night continues and the room fills up so no one has to shout to hear each other.

Now that you've got your Cinco de Mayo party planned, the last thing to do is practice the only Spanish you'll need all night: Viva Mexico!


Jessica Brooks is a digital producer and pro-trained cook and baker. Follow her food stories on Instagram @brooks_cooks.

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