The holiday of Cinco De Mayo is celebrated with what are called cinco de mayo crafts. These crafts include tissue paper flowers for the hair, jewelry, flag making, hand-made instruments and paper mache pinatas. Cinco de Mayo takes place on the 5th Of May and commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. The Cinco De Mayo holiday is not, as many people think, Mexico’s Independence Day, which actually takes place on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo is a time to celebrate and dress up. Although most Mexican jewelry is made of silver and set with precious stones such as amber and turquoise you can make a facsimile of a silver Mexican bracelet by cutting a slit in a toilet paper roll so that it fits over your child’s arm like a silver cuff. You then wrap the cuff in aluminum foil or tin foil and glue colorful dried beans and sequins to it. You can paint the dried beans a sky blue to resemble the actual turquoise gems. This is one of the many easy cinco de maya crafts that you can find directions for on the Internet. This glittery project is sure to delight adults and children alike.
Maracas and rattles are also a big traditional part of Cinco de Maya festivities. During the celebration, the rattles are shaken to welcome generous spirits and drive away the unhappy spirits of the past. A very simple rattle can be constructed out of a Popsicle stick, a brightly decorated toilet paper tube, a few beans and some masking tape.
Really gorgeous Mexican Maracas can be constructed out of blown up balloons that are used as the forms for paper mache. Handles are attached to the paper mache bulbs and their receptacles filled with dried beans. Directions for creating this musical instrument and other sophisticated crafts can be found online.
Paper Mache is a large component of many Mexican crafts, particularly when it comes to making piñatas. Piñatas are typically animal shapes that are filled with candy, hung from a tree and then beaten with a stick by children until the piñata breaks open and spills its contents. You can find a great recipe for homemade paper mache paste as well as designs for animal armatures everywhere online.
The “Ojo de Dios” or God’s Eye symbol is also traditional among Cinco de Mayo crafts. This diamond shaped square made of green, red and white yarn is an ancient symbol that was first made by the Huichol Indians of Mexico. It is used to ward off evil spirits or the “evil eye.” You can make very large Ojos out of tree branches or tiny ones out of toothpicks. This is a perfect project for you to do with children.