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40 Cinco de Mayo quotes to celebrate the holiday

Toast Cinco de Mayo with these quotes, sayings and song lyrics.
Cinco de Mayo Celebration
These Cinco de Mayo quotes will raise your spirits come May 5.Ana Martinuzzi / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Cinco de Mayo is an annual holiday that marks the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Also known as the Battle of Puebla Day, Cinco de Mayo (which is Spanish for “May 5th”), is often confused with Mexican Independence Day. In Mexico, however, the holiday isn’t nearly as widely recognized as it is in the United States, where it has become a popular way to celebrate Mexican-American culture.

The below quotes, song lyrics and sayings toast the holiday, express pride and patriotism, and express happy sentiments in Spanish and English alike. Some may be familiar, like the patriotic phrase “¡Viva México¡” whereas others might not be as popular but carry equal weight.

If you’re looking for some thought-provoking or inspiring words to share this Cinco de Mayo, whether it be to a loved one or in a social media post, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for 40 Cinco de Mayo quotes to raise your spirits for the happy day. Without further ado, let’s raise a glass (or a margarita) and toast to Mexican-American pride.

Spanish expressions for Cinco de Mayo

  • ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! (Happy Cinco de Mayo!)
  • ¡Feliz Día de la Batalla de Puebla¡ (Happy day of the Battle of Puebla) 
  • ¡Viva México¡ (Long live Mexico!)
  • ¡Que tengas un feliz Cinco de Mayo! (Have a happy Cinco de Mayo!)

Famous quotes about Mexico

  • “Mexico is a mosaic of different realities and beauties.” — Enrique Peña Nieto
  • “Every year, thousands of Americans mistakenly refer to Cinco de Mayo as Mexico’s Independence Day.” — Joe Baca
  • “Time in Mexico is at times cruel and punishing, but it is never indifferent. It permeates everything, changes reality. Einstein would have loved Mexico because there, time and space are one. I stare more often into empty space when I’m in Mexico.” — Rudolfo Anaya, Silence of the Llano
  • “In Mexico your wishes have a dream power. When you want to see someone, he turns up.” ― William S. Burroughs, Junkie
  • “In Mexico, we never forget; we always remember those who fought for freedom on Cinco de Mayo.” — Monica Ortiz
  • “I don’t want to go to the United States,” Mario, another of the old men, said, and he pointed—four blocks north was the fence. “My family is here. I was born here. This is my home.” ― Paul Theroux, On The Plain Of Snakes: A Mexican Journey
  • “Write the story of a contemporary cured of his heartbreaks solely by long contemplation of a landscape. ― Paul Theroux, On the Plain Of Snakes: A Mexican Journey
  •  “At least you don’t need a prescription for tequila.” ― Rachel Vincent
  •  “One single visit is not enough to be able to say that you know Mexico.” ―  Enrique Peña Nieto
  •  “Mexico. Our brother from another mother. A country, with whom, like it or not, we are inexorably, deeply involved, in a close but often uncomfortable embrace. Look at it. It’s beautiful. It has some of the most ravishingly beautiful beaches on earth. Mountains, desert, jungle. Beautiful colonial architecture, a tragic, elegant, violent, ludicrous, heroic, lamentable, heartbreaking history.” ― Anthony Bourdain
  •  “In years of making television in Mexico, it’s one of the places we, as a crew, are happiest when the day’s work is over. We’ll gather round a street stall and order soft tacos with fresh, bright, delicious tasting salsas—drink cold Mexican beer, sip smoky mezcals, listen with moist eyes to sentimental songs from street musicians. We will look around and remark, for the hundredth time, what an extraordinary place this is.” ― Anthony Bourdain
  • “I took a trip down to Mexico. It kind of changed my perspective on life a little bit.” ― Derrick Favors

Quotes from notable Mexicans and Mexican-Americans

  • “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” — Emiliano Zapata
  • “‘Is that why you stare at the stars?’ he asked. ‘Are you searching for beauty or dreaming with your eyes wide open?’” ― Silvia Moreno-Garcia,
  • “There is nothing more precious than laughter — it is strength to laugh and lose oneself, to be light.” — Frida Kahlo
  • “Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.” — Frida Kahlo
  • “I love you more than my own skin.” — Frida Kahlo
  • “If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it away.” — ​Selena Quintanilla
  • “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” — Frida Kahlo
  • “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” — Cesar Chavez
  •  “Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well with others.” ― Cesar Chavez
  •  “You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.” ― Cesar Chavez
  •  “There you’ll find the place I love most in the world. The place where I grew thin from dreaming. My village, rising from the plain. Shaded with trees and leaves like a piggy bank filled with memories. You’ll see why a person would want to live there forever. Dawn, morning, mid-day, night: all the same, except for the changes in the air. The air changes the color of things there. And life whirs by as quiet as a murmur...the pure murmuring of life.” ― Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo
  •  “The sky was filled with fat stars, swollen from the long night. The moon had risen briefly and then slipped out of sight. It was one of those sad moons that no one looks at or pays attention to. It had hung there a while, misshapen, not shedding any light, and then gone to hide behind the hills.” ― Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo
  •  “Perhaps no one really knows us who does not know the way we laugh.” ― Valeria Luiselli, Lost Children Archive
  •  “No one behind, no one ahead. / The path the ancients cleared has closed. / And the other path, everyone’s path, / easy and wide, goes nowhere. / I am alone and find my way.” ― Octavio Paz
  •  “One day there will be no borders, no boundaries, no flags and no countries and the only passport will be the heart.” ― Carlos Santana
  •  “People get stuck in their stories. My advice is to end your story and begin your life.” ― Carlos Santana, The Universal Tone: My Life

Song lyrics about Mexico

  • “Mexicanos, al grito de guerra el acero aprestad y el bridón.” ― Francisco González Bocanegra, “Mexican National Anthem” (“Mexicans, at the cry of war, assemble the steel and the bridle.”)
  • “Oh, Mexico / It sounds so simple, I just got to go / The sun’s so hot, I forgot to go home / Guess I’ll have to go now.” ― James Taylor, “Mexico”
  • “I left out of Tucson with no destination in mind / I was runnin’ from trouble and the jail term, the Judge had in mind / And the border meant freedom, a new life, romance / And that’s why I thought I should go / And start my life over on the seashores of old Mexico.”  ― George Strait, “The Seashores of Old Mexico”
  • “¿Cuándo volverás a México otra vez?” ―  Juan Gabriel, “Cuándo Volverás A México” (“When will you return to Mexico again?”)
  • “You can’t say no, in Acapulco / With every beat your heart will answer yes / Where lovers sing instead of talk / And dance instead of walk together / In a night, that’s filled with stars / And strumming guitars.” ― Elvis Presley, “You Can’t Say No in Acapulco”
  • “Weather-wise, it’s such a lovely day / You just say the words and we’ll beat the birds / Down to Acapulco Bay.”  ― Frank Sinatra, “Come Fly with Me”
  • “Laid back in an old saloon, with a peso in my hand / Watchin’ flies and children on the street / And I catch a glimpse of black-eyed girls who giggle when I smile / There’s a little boy who wants to shine my feet.” ― Bob Weir, “Mexicali Blues”
  • “Picture postcards ‘n’ hot tequila / French perfume, man, from Venezuela / When you’re on a Tijuana Taxi ride! / Give those bulls a great big hand, / Love that mariachi band, / But the best thing in the land / Is that hand-me-down Tijuana Taxicab.” ―  Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, “Tijuana Taxi”