“Cinco de Mayo” or “5 de mayo”? It all depends.

Bilingual article.

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican-American holiday!

Pero ahora veamos algunas palabras y frases que van y vienen del inglés al español, relacionadas con esta celebración.

Cinco de Mayo
As cultural holiday proper noun, it should be capitalized.

El 5 de mayo
It is not the holiday’s name; therefore, it does not need capitalization. Don’t forget, we don’t capitalize months in Spanish.

Examples:

Su cumpleaños es el 5 de mayo.
Celebra el Cinco de Mayo con tu familia y amigos.

But Cinco de Mayo celebration also has activities with slightly different names, like:

Cinco de Mayo Festival
The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Before I translate these names, I ask myself the following questions. I suggest you do too:

Q. Is the name clear to Spanish speakers?
A. Both names are clear in Spanish, they have the words “festival”, “fiesta” and “Cinco de Mayo”.

Q. How a Spanish speaker is going to mention the name, when they share it with their friends and family?
A. A Spanish speaker will call these two activities “el festival del Cinco de Mayo” and “la fiesta del Cinco de Mayo”; very close to original names.

Q. Is it easy to read while driving?
A. Both names are.

Q. How familiar is a Spanish speaker with the concept I’m communicating?
A. Spanish speakers are very familiar with both concepts.

Solutions I suggest:

Mucha diversión te espera en el Cinco de Mayo Festival: comida, juegos, conciertos. Es un festival para que celebremos juntos el Cinco de Mayo.

Ven a la Cinco de Mayo Fiesta con toda tu familia.

We also have Cinco de Mayo events with very different names:

Guacamole Contest
El Grito Contest
Running of the Chihuahuas

Before I translate them, I ask myself the same questions:

Q. Is the name clear to Spanish speakers?
A. Only “guacamole”, “grito” and “chihuahuas” are clear in Spanish.

Q. How a Spanish speaker is going to mention the name, when they share it with their friends and family?
A. A Spanish speaker will not be able to share the message clearly if they don’t understand the words “contest” and “running”. And if they understand them, they will call these activities: “concurso de guacamole”, “concurso de gritos” y “carrera de chihuahuas”. Not to close to original English name.

Q. Is it easy to read while driving?
A. If they are not familiar with the words “contest” and “running”, most likely the message won’t be understood.

Q. How familiar is a Spanish speaker with the concept I’m communicating?
A. Spanish speakers could be familiar with these concepts.

I would translate the three names into Spanish:

Guacamole Contest
Concurso de Guacamole

El Grito Contest
Concurso El Grito

Running of the Chihuahuas
Carrera de Chihuahuas

Examples:

Concurso de Guacamole Cinco de Mayo.
As proper noun, it should be capitalized.

Habrá un concurso de guacamole este año.
As common noun, “concurso de guacamole” doesn’t need capitalization.

Concurso El Grito en Texas.
As proper noun, it should be capitalized.

La Carrera de Chihuahuas VIII
As proper noun, it should be capitalized.

Hubo una carrera de chihuahuas el año pasado, creo que habrá otra este año.
As common noun, “carrera de chihuahuas” doesn’t need capitalization.

Tip

Check how familiar Spanish speakers are with the original name, if they can easily mention it to other people, and read it while driving.

Not sure if you need to translate your activity name, ask me below. And don’t forget to enjoy this Cinco de Mayo.

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