By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Saturday, May 5th, it is time to celebrate “Cinco de Mayo” (May 5th), which commemorates Mexican cultural heritage and history. In Rio de Janeiro, the date will not go uncelebrated: expatriates and locals will enjoy the holiday in Mexican bars and restaurants, a themed dinner party and a show.
If the festive events of Cinco de Mayo are mostly associated with the United States, the origin of the date goes back to nineteenth century’s Mexico. Despite of what many people may think, Cinco de Mayo has no relation with Mexico’s independence, but the military victory of the city of Puebla, which defeated the French army in 1862.
Even though Cinco de Mayo is not a Mexican holiday, and not a significant date for the entire country, it is strongly celebrated by Puebla’s citizens for representing the resistance against the foreign domination.
The Cinco de Mayo became a United States’ national holiday around the 1960s, when Latino activists started to raise awareness for the date. Today, it is celebrated by diverse Americans with parades, parties, traditional Mexican music and a culinary feast of burritos, tacos, quesadillas and other Mexican delights.
The biggest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world is the Fiesta Broadway party. Taking place in Los Angeles, the festival, spread across 24 blocks, usually attracts over 600,000 people for its lively musical line-up, dance performances and typical Mexican food stalls.
In Rio de Janeiro, one of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations among expatriates will be a themed dinner party and fundraiser night host by the U.S. Consul General and his wife, Jimmy and Susan Story.
Happening in Also Leblon, the event aims to gather the foreign community in Rio to fraternize with an authentic Mexican dinner made by restaurant Azteka (in Ipanema). The money raised by the dinner (R$200 per person) will be donated to NGO Art & Social Transformation.
Partygoers looking for a cheered up program should go to the “Manie y El Gran Circo Dansante” party tonight. Happening at the Crescer e Viver circus, in Centro, the party combines live Latin music and circus performances in honor to Cinco de Mayo.
DJs from the Manie Dansant party (vintage American music), musicians Serafín de Janeiro and Alê Sax (from band TechnoBrass), and clown Matias are some of the attractions one will find at the event.
Food and celebration enthusiasts who want to get into the Cinco de Mayo mood should definitely go to bar and restaurant Blue Agave. Present both in Ipanema and Copacabana, Blue Agave is known for its accessible Mexican cuisine, drinks and good prices.
Considered a “meeting point” for the expatriate community in Rio, Blue Agave promises to offer a bustling Cinco de Mayo night, and will not disappoint those looking for nice micheladas, tequila shots and tasty burritos.
Apart from Blue Agave, Rio’s Zona Sul is served by several Mexican restaurants that are also worth checking out, like Guacamole, in Jardim Botânico; Azteka, in Ipanema; Tex-Mex house Rota 66, in Copacabana; and La Calaca, in Flamengo.