For most Americans, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo with lots of Mexican food and probably a few margaritas.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. And funny enough, it’s not really celebrated in Mexico the way it is in the U.S.

But since Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by so many of us, we thought we’d provide some ideas to honor the day in your senior living community. There are so many options, you could spend the entire day and night celebrating.


Ask residents and staff to dress in red, white, and green (the colors of the Mexican flag). The first step to celebrating and getting in the spirit is dressing the part.


  • Anything red, white, and green goes on this day — banners, confetti, streamers, balloons, and more.
  • Put bowls of Mexican-colored M&Ms around the community as a sweet treat.
  • Fiesta paper goods from Party City make for festive meal times.
  • If you want to splurge, string margarita lights at the buffet or in the cafeteria. The more festive the better!

The Menu

Mexican food is delicious and deserves to be celebrated on May 5 — or eaten every day, if that’s your choice.

Here are some ideas:

  • Carne Asada
  • Rice & Beans
  • Red, White, and Green Jello
  • Salsa, Guacamole, & Chips
  • Fajitas & Tacos


  • There are plenty of Spotify lists with toe-tapping Mexican music that you can play throughout the day.
  • Hire a traditional Mariachi band to perform during meal times.
  • Hold a salsa dancing class. A salsa dancing teacher will help spice things up with new dance moves for your seniors. Tip: Supply maracas for everyone to shake, shake, shake.

Other Fun Activities

  • Hold a craft class the day before to create the decorations like colorful tissue paper flowers and a piñata.
  • Make guacamole, salsa, and choco taco shells in your cooking class that morning and eat them for lunch!
  • If the weather is nice, hold a Mexican hat relay on the lawn to get your seniors moving.
  • Print out Cinco de Mayo coloring pages and hold a coloring or painting class. Display the pages at your dinner celebration.
  • If you have any Mexican residents, ask them to speak during a discussion circle about Mexican traditions and family memories. This is the perfect type of day for some education.