Cinco de Mayo Festival

Events - April 14th, 2013

Kicking off the string of cultural festivals taking place in Yoyogi Park during spring and summer, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the ‘Americas’.

If you’ve picked the stress-free option to stick around Tokyo during Golden Week, this festival may be the closest thing to a vacation without having to leave: Tex-Mex foods (and we know how difficult good Mexican good is to find around Japan), samba and Mariachi groups are awaiting you.

But, what exactly is Cinco de Mayo? The holiday takes place on the fifth day of May in the United States, and regionally in Mexico, to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride. It originated in Mexican communities in the American West back in the days of the Civil War, as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy.

Nowadays, it’s a chance to learn a bit more about the culture of Mexico, and in the case of this Yoyogi Park edition, about other Central and South American nations. For two days, you can feast on scrumptious tacos and regional dishes, watch a demonstration of capoeira, hear some Mariachi serenade you, watch dance troupes from Chile, Mexico, Columbia and Peru, and hear a brass quintet from the US Navy. Children can try their hand at breaking the piñata, which are usually filled to the brim with candy and small toys.

Special guest hailing from Mexico include popular dancer Oscar Lobo and actress/singer Fabiola Jaramillo.

Cinco de Mayo Festival (click for detailed schedule)

When: May 3-4

Where: Yoyogi Park

How much: Free

Main image: Joelk75 on Flickr