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Cinco de Mayo is So Much More Than Margaritas

The history behind the holiday and the Indigenous artisans of Michoacán.

We launched a new collection of handmade and fair-trade pieces from Mexico today, and since Cinco de Mayo is this Sunday, we wanted to dive into the history behind its importance and how that relates to the incredible artisans who made these pieces. Spoiler Alert: Cinco de Mayo is not really about binge drinking... AND it's not widely celebrated in Mexico!


The (Ultra) Abridged History of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico's victory over Napoleon's invading French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1861, and it was first widely celebrated by Mexican Americans in California and Texas through the end of the 19th century. During the 1960s and 70s, the Chicano Movement revived Cinco de Mayo celebrations:

"Cinco de Mayo had originally served as a beacon of hope against the imperialist forces that were intent upon reinstating a European monarchy in the Americas. Chicano activists chose Cinco de Mayo because they viewed their struggle against the systemic racism they faced in the United States in the same light. Just like the poor and ill-equipped makeshift Mexican army that defeated a global superpower against all odds, Chicanos also viewed themselves as "underdogs" in the fight for equality and justice."

Ruben A. Arellano

"There's more to Cinco de Mayo than you might think."

The Washington Post, May 5, 2022


In 1980s and 90s, corporations commercialized Cinco de Mayo into the margarita-slinging, often culturally-insensitive phenomenon we know today. BUT we can still choose to celebrate the spirit of resistance and resilience at the heart of this holiday instead.

How We're Celebrating

At HH, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo in two ways: we got the team together to celebrate our own personal stories of resilience and determination, and we launched a collection of pieces handcrafted by Indigenous people from Michoacán Mexico.

Enjoying our Cinco celebration in style and sober! 

The Artisans Who Crafted Our Michoacán Collection

While it might seem odd to associate this new collection with what's really an American holiday, each piece in it is a testament to the survival of Indigenous people and traditions which feels absolutely in line with the spirit of Cinco de Mayo. 

In February, we visited the villages of Pátzcuaro and Santa Clara del Cobre in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Indigenous Purépecha have lived in this region for thousands of years, and like the Aztecs they were a major pre-Columbian empire. The Purépecha were (and are) known for being incredible artisans, meticulously crafting feather mosaics, textiles, metalworks and more. 

While they resisted the Aztec Empire (yes, they were never conquered!) the Purépecha and their lands were brutally destroyed by the Spanish during Spain's violent conquest of Mesoamerica. However, as with every instance of colonialism, Indigenous people survived the deliberate destruction of their society and culture. Their descendants are alive today and continuing Purépecha traditions—including the artisanal crafts of textile making, coppersmithing, and more. 

Indigenous people WILL persevere. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

If you want to read more about our trip to Mexico and the pieces in the Michoacán Collection, check out this post > 

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