The Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s defeat over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. In honor of this event many people celebrate with food, fun, and fanfare. One decoration you might see hanging from the ceiling during Cinco de Mayo will be papel picado or cut paper.
These intricate designs are usually handcrafted and made of tissue paper also known as Papel China. With the invention of paper in China making its way to Mexico, the early art form of Chinese papercutting, otherwise known as Jianzhi (剪纸 ) became integrated into the Mexican culture. Strings of papel picado are traditionally hung in churches or throughout streets and come in a variety of colors and designs.
We at SDCHM along with SDG&E encourage all those that wish to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the creation of papel picado do so with recycled paper, such as newspaper or magazines. Also, if you have an interest in learning more about paper cutting, SDCHM offers a class for students second through sixth grade: The Art of Chinese Paper Cutting. Students will get their chance to master this ancient art form.
Have a safe and happy Cinco de Mayo!