Cinco de Mayo invitations
Let the warmth and friendliness of Mexico inspire your Cinco de Mayo party decorations. Choose streamers, balloons and other decorations in bright, happy colors like pink and orange, and drape chairs and sofas with authentic serapes (blankets). Line your entryway with tiny potted cacti, or if it's an evening affair, use farolitos (made with votives, sand and paper bags) to add drama. You should have lots of colorful flowers, including some to tuck behind your guests' ears. For those unfamiliar with the origin of the Cinco de Mayo celebration, here's a (very) brief history: On May 5, 1862, an army of 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated French occupational forces that were twice as large in what is known as the Battle of Puebla. In the U.S., especially areas with large Mexican populations, the date has become a time to celebrate Mexican culture with traditional foods, mariachi music, folk dances and, of course, piñatas. One word: piñata. No Cinco de Mayo fiesta is complete without one, so if you want your party to have a whiff of authenticity, you'll need to find one ASAP. If you're a traditionalist, cram your piñata with candy, toys (superballs are fun) and small trinkets. If your guests are hitting the tequila, you might want to add little packets of Alka Seltzer or aspirin. The best place to hang a piñata is outside, but if you don't have a lot of room, just make sure you clear some space in your home and move anything breakable. If you don't want the piñata-bashing to go on for too long, make little incisions with a pocket knife in the piñata before you hang it up. It'll smash in no time! Mexico is a vibrant and beautiful place with many different cuisines and flavors. Don't just limit yourself to chips and dip! A Cinco de Mayo party is a perfect occasion to branch out and try foods from different regions: a Oaxacan mole for example, or maybe a baked Veracruz snapper. Turn quesadillas into finger food by cutting them into wedges and topping with fresh guacamole or mango salsa. Gazpacho also packs a lot of flavor and can be served in pretty cocktail glasses.