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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a fun cultural celebration in many communities across the U.S. honoring the Mexican culture and heritage through dance, music, food, and drink. (Tacos & margaritas, anyone!?) The celebrations are a great time, but what is the real meaning behind Cinco de Mayo? Grab yourself a Margarita or Corona and enjoy learning about the culture, celebrations, and history of Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo Trivia:

1. Many people believe that Cinco de Mayo marks Mexico gaining independence as a country, similar to Independence Day in the U.S. And while it does celebrate a national victory, Cinco de Mayo isn't Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for May 5th) celebrates the Mexican army's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

2. President Franklin Roosevelt helped bring Cinco de Mayo celebrations to the U.S. after he created the “Good Neighbor Policy” in 1933 to improve relations with Latin American countries.

3. Mariachi originated in Jalisco, Mexico, in the 19th century. The musicians would travel from town to town singing songs of revolutionary heroes and enemies, and carrying news from one place to another.

4. The traditional dance is called the." Baile folklorico is a traditional Mexican folk dance that dates back to Mexico's 1810 War of Independence, when the country was becoming more nationalistic and proud of its cultural identity. It's characterized both by the colorful clothing and mariachi music.

5. If you've ever been to a Cinco de Mayo parade or any other Mexican cultural celebration, you've probably seen dancers wearing gorgeous colorful dresses like this one. They're often called "puebla dresses." Today, they incorporate a variety of materials including lace, satin and silk, but the earliest dresses were made with naturally available materials like cotton, bark, and agave plants.

6. Cinco de Mayo celebrations are growing in popularity! Every year, more and more towns across the U.S. plan Cinco de Mayo festivities. It's also extending across the globe to places like Australia, South Africa, and Japan.

7. It shares the day with other big moments. May 5th is also the anniversary of when NASA launched the first American-manned space flight (1961) and the opening of Carnegie Hall (1891).

Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in Milwaukee:

5 de Mayo @ Riverwest Public House (815 E. Locust Ave.), 9 p.m.-midnight

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo by supporting one of Milwaukee’s hardest-working nonprofits. Voces de la Frontera will be at the Public House for a special build-your-own-happy hour featuring a raffle, scavenger hunt and spoken word skits. Reggae fusion band They GuanUs and DJ Nemi Zelekta will also perform.

Cinco de Mayo Block Party @ Kompali (1205 E. Brady St.), 3 p.m.

Brady Street’s newest taqueria will host a block party to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, shutting down a section of Franklin Place with an outdoor DJ, photo booth and margarita bar. Drink deals include $5 margaritas, $3 tequila shots, buckets of six beers for $20 and more. Food specials include the same $2 tacos that are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some added.

Cinco de Mayo Weekend @ BelAir Cantina (Multiple Locations), 8 a.m.

BelAir Cantina will open all six of their locations at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 4 and 8 a.m. on Cinco de Mayo for an all-day celebration. Los Plebes Dela Sierra will make stops at all six locations. Make sure to get in early if you want a seat, even if you happen to be the biggest NBA superstar in Milwaukee.

Cinco de Mayo @ Broken Bat Brewing Company (231 E. Buffalo St.), noon-11 p.m.

Broken Bat Brewing Company will run a special on their Corre Corre Mexican lager all day Saturday, with $5 pints and a $9 pint and popcorn deal, which includes a pint of Corre Corre and a bag of guacamole and lime popcorn.

Cheers to Cinco de Mayo and all of the celebrations this weekend!

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