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Cinco de Mayo: 
A Mexican Festival

Preschool Activities and Crafts

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Multicultural > Mexico and Mexican-American

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Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican victory festival observed by Mexican-American communities and primarily in Puebla, Mexico.  This day celebrates patriotism, unity and Mexican heritage.

What is patriotism?  It is to love our country.  Spanish is the predominant language in Mexico and also widely spoken by Mexican communities living in the United States and elsewhere.  Around 50 indigenous languages are spoken in Mexico by about 5 million people.  

Cinco de Mayo means May the 5th.  On May 5, 1862, although greatly outnumbered, Mexican soldiers conquered an army of French and Mexican rebel soldiers at Puebla, Mexico.  The Mexican soldiers demonstrated great courage, unity, leadership and patriotism -- a deep love for their families, home and country on that day.  

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Mexican communities hold festivals, parades, and cultural events.

Important Mexican Holidays:

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day - El Grito - which was earlier in September 16, 1810 and of great significance to Mexicans.  Another important historical celebration is Revolution Day - November 20th.

The Sun in Mexican  Culture - Sun Art Activity:
In honor of the Mexican culture,  we can commemorate these important Mexican holidays by doing an art activity that reflects the Mexican tradition.  Mexicans have a talent for art - and a love of bright colors.  A theme that appears frequently in Mexican art is images of the sun.  

*Here is an article that sheds light about this theme and its importance in Mexican culture: The Culture of the Sun

One of the most magnificent expressions of the sun theme is expressed in the Aztec Sun Stone based on a solar year.

Here are simple sun images to choose from in black and white format for the youngest children or provide a thin paper plate for free-style art activity:  Sun #1, Sun #2, Sun #3.  Children can decorate the sun image or paper plate with a variety of materials and it is good time to recycle left-over materials:  glitter, beads, dry beans, buttons, cut-up tissue paper or cut-up construction paper, paints, crepe paper streamers, markers, crayons, string, yarn, etc.  The decorated sun image can also be adapted for use as masks:  after decorating glue the image to thin card board and cut around the image, make openings for the eyes and add a craft stick, or a toilet paper tube the children can hold.  If using a paper plate simply attach the craft stick or paper tube.  Older children can be given blank sheets of sturdy paper, a variety of materials to create a sun image.

Here are some additional ideas for Sun theme crafts at DLTK-kids: 
* Sun paper plate masks (practice circle and triangles)
* Handprint sun craft

Play Mexican music in the background while children are doing their art activity -- the local library is a good source.

Idea:  Discuss and honor a holiday-festival and/or historical event in your country or region that is similar to the Cinco de Mayo or Mexican Independence Day, and develop the topic of leadership and citizenship.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!     
¡Viva Méjico!  Hurrah Mexico!

Visit Cinco de Mayo at DLTK and continue the celebrations.  Try making fresh salsa with tortillas for a great snack!  Make a musical instrument: maracas, or make a bean bracelet!

Resources:  All About Mexico at History.com

 

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