Cinco de Mayo parades are among the most popular events to attend when celebrating the great victory of the Mexicans over the French at the Battle of Puebla. The parades are coordinated to represent both the importance of the battle and to celebrate the rich Mexican culture. The parades are generally made up of those in the military, civilians, and numerous youth groups, all of whom practice for months to make the parade perfect. With a variety of marchers, floats, and dances, these parades only add to the greatness of the Cinco de Mayo fiestas. No matter whether you’re in Puebla itself or at one of the 2016 celebrations in the US, the best festivals and parties for Cinco de Mayo always commence with a fabulous parade.
The parades are most popular in the Mexican state of Puebla, where the battle occurred, as Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated as a national holiday. Parade-goers take the parade quite seriously and stake their place early in the morning on the 5th of May to make sure to get a good view. Participants dress up as Mexican and French soldiers and pay tribute to the patriots of the battle and to all who have given their life for Mexico. Cinco de Mayo parades look back on history and show an appreciation for all that have helped Mexico advance to become the nation it is today. After the marching of the military with gun salutes and carrying of the Mexican flag, different groups and floats make their way down the parade path. These colorful floats represent different aspects of Mexican culture and current events while school and dance groups perform traditional dances.
After the parade finishes, the people of Puebla began their Cinco de Mayo fiestas with festivals of crafts, food and live music. Vendors set up stalls along the main streets in Puebla selling traditional crafts, straw hats, serapes, watermelon, tacos and various other festive foods. The fiesta continues well into the night with people roaming the streets in their costumes and traditional clothing buying treats and crafts. Later on in the night dancing and live music ensues and the party does not end until midnight with a shout of Viva Mexico!
The best place to see a Cinco de Mayo parade outside of Puebla would be in the Penon de los Banos neighborhood in Mexico City. It has been a long-lived tradition where inhabitants dress up to reenact the famous battle. Every year volunteers take turns dressing up as the two armies and pay tribute to Mexican patriots who fought in the victorious Battle of Puebla. Afterwards, the Cinco de Mayo fiestas truly starts with people flooding the streets in costumes and traditional dress, live music and various stalls serving up delicious food.
If you don’t have the budget, or desire, to travel to Mexico for Cinco de Mayo the United States is home to a few grand celebrations. Some of the best Cinco de Mayo parades in the US are held right across the US-Mexico border in cities, most famous is the parade held in San Jose, California. Often referred to as the best Cinco de Mayo parade in the US, San Jose hosts a slew of celebrations in honor of the Mexican holiday. The festivities commence with a colorful, vibrant parade in the morning and ends with dancing, drinking and eating.
The tradition of the Cinco de Mayo parade is something that will be celebrated for generations to come. The appreciation for Mexican heritage, history and culture come out during the parades and is a great spectacle to see. No matter if you are at the best 2016 Cinco de Mayo parade in the US or celebrating amongst the peoples of Puebla, you will see the true colors of Mexico shine.