Mexico is a country with a diverse cultural heritage, which is reflected in its vibrant celebrations and festivals throughout the year. From religious observances to regional fairs, Mexico's holidays are steeped in tradition and history.
With our Guide to Mexico, you will learn more about all the wonderful things this country has to offer. You may also be interested on knowing more about the travel advisories for Mexico, don't worry we have you covered.
Celebrating Mexico's Rich Culture and Festive Holidays
What is Dia de Muertos?
One of the most famous holidays celebrated in Mexico is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This colorful and festive holiday is a time for families to gather and honor their deceased loved ones with offerings of food, flowers, candles, and other items that represent life. The holiday takes place on November 1st and 2nd each year, coinciding with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in the Christian calendar. Cinco de Mayo: A Celebration of Mexican Patriotism and Unity
What is Cinco de Mayo Really About?
While often mistaken as Mexico's Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates Mexico's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. The holiday has since evolved into a celebration of Mexican patriotism and unity both within Mexico and among Mexican communities around the world. Independence Day: A National Holiday Celebrating Freedom from Spain
When is Mexico’s Independence Day?
Mexico's real Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th each year. This national holiday marks the beginning of Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain in 1810. It is a day filled with parades, fireworks displays, music performances, traditional foods like pozole, chiles en nogada (stuffed peppers), tamales (corn dough wrapped around filling), among others.
Mexican holidays are far from boring; they are full of meaning for Mexicans who hold their rich history close to their hearts. Each celebration carries its own unique traditions that are passed down from generation to generation.1
Religious Holidays in Mexico
Semana Santa (Holy Week) - A Week-Long Observance Leading up to Easter Sunday
Mexico is a predominantly Catholic country, and Holy Week is one of the most significant religious holidays. Semana Santa lasts for an entire week leading up to Easter Sunday and is observed with great fervor and devotion. It is a time for solemn reflection, prayer, and penance.
Throughout the week, there are processions through the streets in many towns and cities, with participants carrying large statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Many people also participate in acts of self-denial or sacrifice during this time as a way to show their devotion to their faith.
One unique tradition during Semana Santa in Mexico is the making of intricate sand sculptures depicting scenes from the Bible or religious figures. These sculptures are often incredibly detailed, taking days to complete, and can be found on beaches throughout Mexico.
Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day) - A Catholic Feast Day Honoring the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus
Dia de la Candelaria falls on February 2nd and marks the end of the Christmas season in Mexico. This day celebrates when Mary presented baby Jesus at the temple forty days after his birth.
On Dia de la Candelaria, it is customary for families to dress up their children as "El Niño Dios" (baby Jesus) in special outfits adorned with gold or silver jewelry. They then take them to church to be blessed by a priest.
Another unique tradition on this day is the eating of tamales. In Mexico, it's common for people to celebrate special occasions with food, and tamales are often prepared for Dia de la Candelaria.
It's said that whoever finds a small figurine of baby Jesus baked inside their tamale will have good luck throughout the year. This tradition is known as the "Rosca de Reyes" and is a fun way to celebrate the end of the Christmas season.
Guelaguetza - A Celebration of Oaxacan Culture
One of the most vibrant and colorful festivals in all of Mexico is the Guelaguetza, which takes place annually in Oaxaca during the last two weeks of July. This celebration is dedicated to showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region's Indigenous communities.
During the festivities, visitors can enjoy traditional music, dance performances, and feasts that feature some of Oaxaca's most famous dishes, like tamales and mole sauce. The name "Guelaguetza" comes from a Zapotec word meaning "offering" or "gift," and that is exactly what this festival represents.
The communities gather to offer their songs, dances, and food to one another as a way of fostering unity and solidarity among themselves. The Guelaguetza has become so popular that people from all over Mexico flock to Oaxaca each year to join in on the fun.
Feria Nacional de San Marcos - A Month-Long Party
If you're looking for a party that lasts more than just a few days, then head over to Aguascalientes during April and May for the Feria Nacional de San Marcos. This month-long fair is one of Mexico's largest annual celebrations and features everything from carnival rides to bullfighting competitions.
Originally founded as an agricultural fair in 1828, the Feria Nacional de San Marcos has since evolved into a massive entertainment extravaganza that draws millions of visitors each year. Some highlights include live concerts by popular Mexican musicians like Luis Miguel and Alejandro Fernandez, as well as traditional rodeo events known as charreadas.
In addition to all the excitement provided by rides and games at various venues throughout Aguascalientes, there are also plenty of opportunities to indulge in local cuisine or shop for handicrafts made by artisans from all over Mexico. The Feria Nacional de San Marcos is truly a celebration of all things Mexican, so make sure to add it to your bucket list!
Dia del Niño (Children's Day) - Celebrating Mexico's Youngest Citizens
Mexico has a deep appreciation for its younger population, and this is reflected in the Dia del Niño holiday. Every year on April 30th, the country comes together to celebrate children and their role in society.
The day provides an opportunity for parents and families to show their appreciation for their children and to encourage them to pursue their dreams. The origins of this holiday can be traced back to 1925 when it was first celebrated as "El Día de la Infancia" or Children’s Day.
Over time, it has evolved into a nationwide celebration marked by various activities such as parades, concerts, games, and cultural events. It is a day when children receive special attention from teachers, parents, and other adults who recognize the importance of fostering the development of Mexico's future leaders.
A Rich Tradition of Holidays
Mexico's rich cultural heritage and diverse celebration of holidays provide a glimpse into the country's vibrant history and traditions.
From the colorful and festive Dia de los Muertos to the national celebration of independence day, Mexico offers a unique experience for visitors looking to explore its cultural roots. You can read more here about the banking holidays.
I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!