The Battle of Puebla happened long before any of us arrived here, but the celebrations surrounding Mexico's victory over France are a considerable contemporary event.
It's Cinco de Mayo we speak of, and while a few years have passed since that 1862 showdown, revelers still pause each 5th of May to raise a margarita or cerveza and enjoy some tunes, some dancing, and an hour or two (or five) of convivial socializing.
Many a bar around Southern Cailfornia will be hanging the Cinco-hued banners, so check with your local watering hole if you're seeking out specials or a party. Or look to ...
Olvera Street: The 2016 Cinco de Mayo merriment began on the last day of April, with a weekend-long schedule of strolling mariachis, folklorico dancers, and eats galore. That merriment will rev up again on Thursday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo proper, when the historic thoroughfare with "(s)pecial entertainment."
FIGAT7TH: Just a hop/skip away — well, a drive of a few blocks — is another alfresco-type holiday observance, this one at the shopping center at Figueroa and 7th Street. ¡Fiesta at Fig! has a "Free & Open to the Public" shindig in the courtyard, a DJ, mariachi strumming, and a piñata-making craft workshop. Want to purchase a margarita, craft beer, or good eats? You can, right there.
Citadel Outlets: Move the fiesta a bit later? That's just the plan at the 5 Freeway-close shopping center. Stop by on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8 for delicious street tacos and shows from Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles. Piano tunes, mariachis, and more festive fun times shall unfurl, holiday-style, at the castle-like landmark.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts: Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández will bring their brass-beautiful melodies and ballads to Costa Mesa. Will you hear "Te Amo" or "Poeta y Campesino" or other canciones de corazón? Make for the arts center for a mondo stage spectacular with Jalisco soul on Thursday, May 5.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Restaurants Galore: Feel like some tamales or guacamole or calabacitas or chile rellenos as your holiday dinner? A number of eateries around SoCal will do up the dishes, and atmosphere, on May 5, including Gracias Madre (think chimis and mariachis and free cotton candy), Border Grill (the downtown location is doing a whole pig roast), El Chavo (hello, yummy street corn and top-notch mezcals), Hollywood Burger (where Mario Lopez's Mario-rita will be $5.95), and Loteria Grill (which will have mariachis at several of its locations).