Teaching diversity and learning diversity is a great lesson for all young and old. What better way to learn about diversity than celebrate Cinco de’ Mayo. Celebrations are a great way to learn about a culture and Cinco de’ Mayo provides a great opportunity to learn.
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th and is a celebration of the Mexican victory over France in 1862. It is a Mexican independence day, so to speak. When the French invaded Mexico City, the army lost the first attempt to protect their land on April 28th, they were forced to retreat. The Mexican troops rallied and on May 5th were victorious in forcing out the French Monarchy from taking over their country. After that victory the United States and Mexico pledged military support to each other, solidifying the partnership and strengthening the importance of the victory on May 5th.
This is a great reason to celebrate. With a little planning, Cinco de’ Mayo can become a cherished tradition in your family, whether you are Mexican or not. Serve a Mexican meal on May 5th; create a few decorations for the day. Play games with the family that are centered on Mexican themes.
An easy craft for children of all ages is to make a Maraca. This can be done by filling two paper or Styrofoam cups with a few dry beans. Tape two cups, open end to open end together, so that you have a shaker. Cover the cup with paper or felt and use glue to attach. Decorate the cup with ribbon, old buttons, or any other small objects. Let the kids shake their Mexican Maraca’s to music or make up songs. Coloring pages and easy word games or more advanced word games can be printed out for additional fun and conversation starters for children. These activities will be an easy introduction to children about Mexican history and culture.
Games and Activities
There are also some more interactive games that children can play, and while they are playing they will learn something. Benito Juarez Says, is played like Simon says. Benito Juarez was the President of Mexico when they defeated France after a 5 year occupation. There are several games that the whole family can enjoy. Teach the children to count in Spanish, or teach simple words for common objects around the house.
Serve an authentic Mexican meal of Chalupas, Spanish rice, and Salad with a Mexican twist, and some Cayenne Pepper Fruit. (Recipes below) Decorate the table with red, green and white. Use the Maracas that the children made earlier as a center piece.
There are many things that can be done to celebrate Cinco de’ Mayo. Enjoy the day, and learn about Mexico while you do. If you find a reason to make everyday a celebration, life becomes a party.
Crock Pot Chalupas
2 lb bag of dry pinto beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 med onion chopped
2 TBS Olive oil
1 ½ TBS chili powder
1 ½ TBS cumin
1 ½ TBS Salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
1 cup canned green chilies mild
4 lb pork roast, boneless
Brown onion, garlic and spices in olive oil. Add to crock pot with chili’s and pork roast. Cover with water and cook on high for 6-8 hours, until beans are soft and pork is fork tender.
Remove pork from crock pot and shred with a fork, removing any large pieces of fat. Put back in crock pot and cook uncovered for 30 -45 minutes to let broth thicken.
Serve on tortillas, with assorted toppings of choice.
Fresh tomatoes, chopped
Fresh Onion, chopped
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Fresh avocado, chopped or guacamole
Can of corn, drained
Mix ingredients for tossed salad sprinkle taco seasoning to taste over salad. Top with Salsa and Sour Cream
1 can chopped stewed tomatoes, Mexican style
Put 2 cups of rice in pot
Drain tomatoes, saving juice, and add to pot
Mix juice and water to equal 4 cups of liquid Add to pot
Bring rice to a boil, cover, simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Fluff with fork
Cayenne Pepper Fruit
Chop fresh fruit of your choice:
Sprinkle with a bit of Cayenne Pepper to taste – remember a little goes a long way, you want to have a bit of spice without burning your mouth, go light and add until you love it. You have to try this to appreciate how good it is.