Hosting a Cinco de Mayo Party: Celebrating Mexican Culture with Respect


These Cinco de Mayo party ideas will help you plan a fun gathering filled with delicious food and drinks. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration that is popular in America and while it’s usually associated with colorful fiestas, it’s crucial to honor the significance of the historical event and celebrate Mexican culture with authenticity and respect.

Here’s how you can host a Cinco de Mayo party that pays homage to the rich heritage of Mexico while steering clear of stereotypes.

Use the Cinco de Mayo party ideas to plan a gathering that’s not all about drinking your face off.

How to Plan a Cinco de Mayo Party

Planning a Cinco de Mayo party that is culturally relevant and fun is totally achievable. While you may see bright-colored party supplies in American stores, we think it is important to understand what Cinco de Mayo is and encourage you to celebrate in a way you feel proud of.

If you’re looking for Cinco de Mayo party ideas that will have you wasted on tequila shots in the first hour, this isn’t your post. But if you want to gather friends together for margaritas, these party ideas will help you create a great night for friends.

We don’t look at a hosting a Cinco de Mayo party like a typical party. Skip extra things like party favors and focus instead on celebrating in a respectful way with friends and family.

Related: Cinco de Mayo Printables for Your Party

What is Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration that commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It isn’t to celebrate Mexican Independence Day as often thought.

This day isn’t typically celebrated in Mexico, except for the village of Puebla where the victory took place. You can read more about the history of Cinco de Mayo here.

The bravery and resilience of the Mexican forces during this battle is why it’s such an important event. Over the years, as with many other holidays, it’s been turned into more of an excuse to get rowdy. But we think you should know the significance before you sip your first margarita.


As I mentioned before, we like to keep Cinco de Mayo a little more low-key. We don’t see a need for formal invitations, but if you want to create one you can easily do that in Canva.

A simple text to invite people over is usually all you need in the way of an invitation for a Cinco de Mayo party.

Cinco de Mayo Decorations

Pink and white flowers in a terra cotta vase on a party table next to a bowl of limes.

It’s easy to buy store-bought Cinco de Mayo decorations and we’re not saying that you shouldn’t. But if you can, we think you should decorate your space with tasteful and culturally respectful decorations that evoke the spirit of Mexico (think warmth, resilience and kindness).

Incorporate vibrant colors inspired by Mexican art and textiles. We used Mexican tiles for our printable Cinco de Mayo party decorations as the inspiration.

While you will likely see rainbow-colored serapes incorporated into store-bought party decor, you should know that there are many other beautiful blanket designs that you could use or be inspired by instead.

Traditional papel picado (cut paper banners) are a beautiful way to decorate a space. Filling in with other classic party supplies (like garlands, streamers, balloons, etc.) keeps things easy and can look very chic.

Avoid using sombreros, maracas, and other items that may perpetuate stereotypes. And we love the idea of supporting smaller businesses instead of big box stores.

A few Mexican-owned shops to check out:

Like with any party, fresh flowers are a great way to add color to a table. You can grab some from your yard or even the grocery store to add visual impact around your home.

What to Serve

A white serving dish with red, white and green salsas for a Cinco de Mayo party.
Tortilla chips in a small bowl on a party table next to some fresh flowers and limes.


I very rarely host dinner parties. I prefer the ease of happy hour with a variety of snacks to keep things easy. And everyone loves snacks.

Chips and guacamole along with a variety of salsas is ideal. We served 3 types of salsa (red – roasted salsa, white – white corn salsa and green – tomatillo, like the Mexican flag) which gives several flavors and textures that your guests will love.

But don’t just serve tortilla chips. Jicama and cucumber spears make great dippers as well.

We think you can’t go wrong with a great white chip and dip plate. This one is our favorite! Notice the sun decoration? You can swap it out for all kinds of themed elements, including a fun margarita glass.

suzy and sharon Favorite!

Fresh ceviche is also a great idea. It’s filling and delicious and there are many easy recipes for you to make at home.

Elote is a simple side that most people love. The flavors can be turned into a dip, a salad, or a filling, providing lots of options for your guests.

For tons more inspiration and delicious recipes for all things sweet and savory, browse Mexico in my Kitchen.


Street Tacos are a really simple idea to serve if you want to do something a little bit heartier.

Whether you make them yourself or get catering from your favorite Mexican restaurant, this would be a simple way to feed a crowd.

You can also buy tamales from your local Mexican market if you are looking for something different to serve.


Churros with chocolate are always a good idea. The cinnamon sugar coating pairs so well with rich chocolate. Sopaipillas would also be super tasty. And while not authentic, you can’t go wrong with Margarita Cupcakes are easy to make and delicious.


Close up of a Hibiscus Margarita with dried Hibiscus leaves and a papel picado stir stick.

We love to serve a Hibiscus Margarita for Cinco de Mayo. It’s bright color looks awesome on a party table. And the flavor is tart and refreshing. Hibiscus is a common flavor in Mexican cuisine and is known to have fantastic health properties.

While margaritas are often associated with Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and of course are our number one choice, consider offering a range of beverages.

Along with a classic margarita, serve alternatives like agua frescas (refreshing fruit-infused waters), micheladas (a spicy beer cocktail), and horchata (a sweet rice-based drink).

Offering non-alcoholic options are great for those who prefer not to drink and something to share with kids if you want to involve them in your Cinco de Mayo celebration.

We used laser cut papel-picado inspired cocktail stirrers from Delovely Details to decorate the drinks. They look great in a margarita, on the table and even in flower centerpieces. Plus because these are made from wood, they are versatile and you can use the leftovers at any kind of party.

A bottle of tequila on a tray next to shot glasses and small limes.

We are lovers of tequila so any party is a good excuse for setting out a favorite bottle. I prefer blanco but extra anejo is often the best sipping experience.


Set the mood with a curated playlist featuring a mix of traditional Mexican music genres such as mariachi, cumbia, and ranchera, alongside contemporary Latin hits. You can easily find playlists on Spotify or Pandora and try to find artists that fit your usual genre but are made by Latin artists.

If you’re having a full-on party, consider hiring a live band or DJ specializing in authentic Mexican music to elevate the atmosphere. You can also ask them to guide you to find a party playlist that would fit the mood of your Cinco de Mayo party.

A decorated wall behind a food table for a Cinco de Mayo party.

Cultural Appreciation

It’s important to appreciate Mexican culture without appropriating it. Encourage your guests to engage in the celebration respectfully with the customs and traditions of Mexico, emphasizing understanding and appreciation rather than caricature or imitation.

Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to celebrate the resilience and cultural richness of Mexico while fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. By hosting a party that honors the true spirit of the holiday, you can create meaningful memories with your guests while promoting respect and inclusivity.

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