Mexico: Holidays                                                             

By some counts, there are more than 4,000 fiestas, festivals, and holidays in Mexican each year. Some, like Easter, Independence Day, Christmas and the Day of the Dead are celebrated everywhere in the country. Others may occur only in one small village honoring its patron saint or a local historical event. Mexico expresses its diversity and rich cultural mix through its celebrations. Many of the holidays listed below are Christian holidays since the majority of the country is Catholic.

January 1                  New Year’s Day 

January 6                  Three Kings Day

February 2                Candlemas Día de Candelaria

February 5                Constitution Day

February 7-12          Carnival 

February 24              Flag Day 

March 21                  Birthday of President Benito Juárez 

March 23-30             Easter Week

May 1                        Labor Day

May 5                        Cinco de Mayo

June 9                       Feast of Corpus Christi

June 29                     St. Peter and St. Paul Day 

July 15-16                 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Day

August 15-16            Feast of the Assumption 

September 16           Independence Day 

November 1-2          Day of the Dead

November 20            Revolution Day

December 12            Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe  

December 25            Christmas

December 28            Innocent’s Day

Two celebrations that you won’t want to miss are the Day of the Dead (Dia de los muertos) and Mexico’s Independence Day! Read below for more background on each of these two special days in Mexico:

Day of the Dead

Dia de los muertos is a celebration that is very much connected to Halloween. However, it is a holiday mainly celebrated in Latin America. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember family members and friends who have died.

The celebration occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November, in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day which take place on those same days.

Traditions include building private altars to honor the deceased and offering them such things as: sugar skulls, marigolds, as well as their favorite foods and beverages. Plans for the day are made throughout the year, including gathering the goods to be offered to the dead. Families usually clean and decorate the graves. Most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with orange marigolds.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern holiday to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl (known in English as "The Lady of the Dead").

Many people believe that during the Dia de los muertos, it is easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living. People will go to cemeteries to communicate with the souls of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Women Decorate the tomb of 

a loved one with marigolds





Independence Day

In the early hours of September 16, 1810, father Hidalgo, accompanied by several conspirators (Iganacio Allende and Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez) rang the bell of his little church calling everyone to fight for liberty. This was the beginning of the Independence War from Spain’s colonial rule, which lasted 10 years.

On this date each year, Mexicans celebrate their independence from Spain. On every 16th of September father Hidalgo’s brave actions are re-enacted in every plaza or zócalo of Mexico.

Streets, houses, buildings and cars are decorated throughout the country. On street corners there are vendors selling flags, balloons, and sombreros with the green, white and red national colors.

Food is always a very important part of these festivities. Hundreds of stands are set up several days before. They sell antojitos, which are described as a variety of finger foods, Mexican candies, and punch. Ponche, is a drink made of fruits that are in season like guayabas, sugarcane, raisins, and apples.

Throughout the month of September, the mes de la patria (the month of our nation), restaurants serve traditional Mexican dishes, such as mole poblano, chiles en nogada, and guacamole and chips.

Mole Poblano is a dish made with dried chili peppers, ground nuts and/or seeds (almonds, peanuts, and/or sesame seeds), spices, chocolate (cacao ground with sugar and cinnamon and occasionally nuts), salt, and a variety of other ingredients including charred avocado leaves, onions, and garlic. Dried seasonings such as ground oregano are also used.