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Why you should celebrate on September 16 (not Cinco de Mayo)

09 September 2015 10:45


In the US, May 5th is guacamole and fajitas, beer, margaritas, Mexican flags & mariachis. In every sate Americans and Mexican immigrants alike celebrate May 5th, often without knowing why. In fact, the celebrations in Mexico pale in comparison to its Northern neighbour.

So with this being the Dual Year of the UK and Mexico and before the UK copies another American trend, there's never been a better time to dispel some myths and start celebrating like real Mexicans do.

First and foremost, Mexico's Independence Day is September 16 - and in Mexico it is celebrated on the night of September 15th with parties in every town all across the country. Grilled corn on the cob, tacos, tamales & many other delicacies accompany this occasion.

Cinco de Mayo on the other hand, celebrates the unlikely victory of the Mexican Army over France in 1862. Since 1861 Mexico had been invaded by Spain, Great Britain and France, but within six months Spain and Britain pulled out. The French however, decided to take advantage of the raging US Civil War and the chaos it brought to the border to invade Mexico. In May in the city of Puebla (85 miles south-east of Mexico City) a small Mexican army defeated a much larger French contingent. Even though France still invaded Mexico later on, this is what is celebrated every year since. It also happens to be the biggest (non-winter) drinking day in the US and companies have been cashing in.

But if you want to celebrate like people in Mexico do, head to one of the many authentic Mexican restaurants in London (like Mestizo) or better still, throw your own party to celebrate (Dia de la Independencia) Independence Day on September 15th.

Since 2015 is the Dual Year of Mexico and the UK and with dozens of exhibitions, culture and events happening all over the UK there's no better time to do it and here's what you'll need:

To order Mexican food have a look at the small but authentic places popping up everywhere. We recommend Tamal (
If you want to cook yourself, head to the website that the Mexican diaspora in the UK can't live without: Mex Grocer (
For decorations, green, white and red paper bunting is essential. The fair trade Mexican brand Chilpa has two designs on Not on the High Street (
Finally, don't forget to shout "Viva Mexico" as the clock strikes 11:00pm!

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About Chilpa

Fair Trade handmade Mexican accessories (scarves, pashminas, wraps & accessories). Sustainable & responsible slow fashion, we believe in quality design made by people who get a fair price for their work.

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