Traveling is a great way to immerse oneself in another culture and the best way to do it is to attend huge celebrations and festivities. In Mexico, for example, fiestas are a big thing and they are being celebrated by everyone due to its cultural or religious importance. If you would like to know more about the Mexico, its culture and its people, here are among the biggest fiestas and festivals held every month to help you plan your unforgettable Mexico holidays.
1. Dia de Reyes
The Christmas holidays — and the gift giving (and receiving) — isn’t over in Mexico until after the 12th day of Christmas. During the Dia de Reyes, or Three Kings’ Day, Mexican children receive gifts from the Kings during this day. It is also typical fare to eat Rosca de Reyes, or Kings’ Ring, which is a wreath-shaped sweet bread that has candies on top and a figurine of a baby Jesus baked inside it. In Mexico City, a mile long Rosca de Reyes is being displayed and people can join in the festivities in Zocalo Square. The person who finds the figurine is expected to host a Dia de la Candelaria party and serve tamales.
2. Dia de la Candelaria
This national holiday is known as Candlemas in English because it is the time when people would bring candles and dressed-up Christ Child figures to the church to be blessed. This event is actually a follow-up celebration to the Dia de Reyes in January and tamales, or corn dough dumplings, are the food of choice. In other places such as Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, the Dia de la Candelaria is a major fiesta that also comes with bullfights and parades.
3. Noche de Brujas
Happens every first Friday of March in Catemaco, Veracruz Noche de Brujas, or Night of the Witches, is one of the most intriguing and interesting festivals in the entire world. The town of Catemaco may just well be the spiritual home for witches and wizards in Mexico as their traditions date back centuries. It was in 1970 that a local brujo, or shaman, started hosting these witchcraft conventions. Shamans, witches and healers visit Catemaco during this time of the year to perform a mass cleansing ceremony to drive away the negative energy from the previous year. People love joining these festivities to have their palms and cards read and more.
4. Semana Santa
Happens around the last week of March to early April The Semana Santa or Holy Week is a very important religious observation — and also the best time to see their Catholic faith in action, as an outsider. The two-week period officially starts with Palm Sunday but masses, processions and other religious activities are most common on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday. Several variations of the celebrations also vary per region. The most famous passion play in the country can be seen in Iztapalapa and involves nearly 4000 locals who perform the scenes in the last week of Jesus’ life.
5. Cinco de Mayo
Literally ‘Five of May’, Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of the Mexican army’s victory against the French forces during the Battle of Puebla back in 1862. The event is often celebrated with parades and battle reenactment although unlike the Mexican Independence Day, the Cinco De Mayo is only an optional national holiday in the country.
6. Dia de los Locos
Happens the Sunday following San Antonio de Padua’s feast day (June 13th) The Day of the Crazy People is the best time to see people wear colorful and elaborate costumes from animals to cartoon characters. Some daring costumes can also be seen such as political figures and cross dressers. Candies and sweets are then thrown to the onlookers who are also encouraged to join in the celebration.
7. Guelaguetza Festival
Also called Los Lunes del Cerro (Mondays on the Hill), this Mexican celebration takes its roots from the native indigenous population in Oaxaca. The event provides a distinct character to the Oaxacan culture and comes with lots of dancing, costumes, native food and artisanal crafts. In the later years, it has also been mixed in with Christian traditions and is being celebrated to honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
8. Mariachi Festival
Mariachi, which takes place in Guadalajara, is among the biggest music festivals being celebrated in Mexico. It features national and cultural treasures and spectators will be treated to nights of awesome music from artists and musicians all over the world. With the live music also comes gala nights, tequila tasting, art shows and many more. A grand parade also takes place and the Mariachi go fully dressed in silver and wide-brimmed sombreros while dancers don their traditional dresses.
9. Festival Cervantino
Happens every fall in Guanajuato The Festival Internacional Cervantino, or El Cervantino, is a huge and very important international artistic and cultural celebration in Mexico and the Latin American region. It was named after renowned Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes thus there is a huge emphasis on showcasing the creations in the Spanish language. Acts often include various genres such as opera, theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature and film.
10. Day of the Dead
Unlike most of the world, the Day of the Dead in Mexico is a joyous and vibrant occasion. It is celebrated on the 2nd of November but preparations and activities already start on the 31st of October. During these festivities, people dress up and don costumes as well as decorate their homes and their dead loved ones’ graves. Families and friends also gather during this time of the year and cook, eat and drink together.
Happens from December 16 to 24 In Mexican, Posadas means “inn” or “shelter”. The tradition takes place in several neighborhoods across the country and even in the US and it starts with a procession where participants bring candles and sing Christmas carols. It is basically a reenactment of Jesus and Mary’s journey in searching for a place to stay in Bethlehem. A celebration takes place once the house is ‘found’ and a party is shared with friends and family. Food such as tamales and drinks such as ponche or atole is often served during this time.
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