(NBC Today – By Erica Chayes Wida) – While many Americans look forward to Cinco de Mayo as an excuse to enjoy a cold margarita and tacos, the holiday actually commemorates a great victory in the country’s history. And, like any great celebration of a significant day, food typically plays a significant role in the traditions. So yes, there will still be tacos!

So what is Cinco de Mayo all about? Many Americans often mistake the date for Mexico’s Independence Day, which is Sept. 16. But Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s underdog victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The triumph inspired the Mexican people and, six years later, the French were finally driven out of Mexico for good. Today, the holiday, which gained popularity among Mexican Americans and people of other cultures during the Civil Rights Movement, more broadly celebrates Mexican culture as a whole.

Cinco de Mayo directly translates to the “fifth of May” in Spanish, which falls on a Friday in 2023. The vibrant cultural celebration is celebrated in the U.S. — and to a lesser extent in Mexico — by Mexican Americans with festive dress, parades and, of course, food! Typical spreads for the holiday include tacos, guacamole and tequila- and mezcal-based Cinco de Mayo drinks.

For everyone wanting to pay homage to the rich culture of Mexico with fun and food, we’re cooking up some mouthwatering recipes from Mexican and Mexican American chefs — including, of course, cold margs and tacos. From gorgeous pitaya margaritas to fresh and unique starters like Pati Jinich’s sweet yet spicy watermelon and tomatillo salad to regional specialties like tamales oaxaqueños, these Cinco de Mayo recipes, this year’s feast will be unforgettable.

Click here to get all the recipes.