Mexico is a country renowned for its colorful fiestas, deeply religious celebrations, and community-based events. Family tends to be at the center of most festivals, such as Semana Santa, when most Mexicans head to relatives homes. Although Carnanval is celebrated throughout Spanish-speaking countries, Mexico is one of the most vibrant nations in which to enjoy this hedonistic celebration, with everyone out on the streets taking part in this fantastic festival.
Three Kings’ Day (Dia de los Reyes Magos)
While everybody else is recovering from Christmas and New Year’s Eve, attempting to stick to their resolutions and hitting the gym, the Mexicans are preparing for the next festival in their calendar, Three Kings’ Day. Dia de los Reyes Magos celebrates the Epiphany and is held on the eve of January 6. It is a big family event, with presents exchanged and large meals including a round cake known as rosca de los reyes (kings’ loaf) served as the centerpiece.
Candlemas (Dia de la Candelaria)
40 days after the birth of Jesus, Candlemas is a religious holiday celebrating the presentation of Jesus to the temple. Held on February 2, the event sees many households throw parties, colorful processions, dancing, live music, and bullfighting.
Late February/early March sees the most vibrant and spectacular festival on Latin America’s calendar, and this is one of the best times of the year to visit Mexico. No matter where you go, it is virtually impossible to escape the party in full-swing. The most elaborate celebrations occur in La Paz and Veracruz where everybody pulls out their fancy dress and puts away their inhibitions. The dancing, drink, and debauchery goes on for days with music, dancing, fireworks, and huge parades.
Guadalajara International Film Festival
Mexico’s oldest and most significant film festival, Guadalajara International Film Festival was established in 1986. Since then, it has been a springboard for some of Mexico and Latin America’s most successful flicks. It has also gained acclaim for its outstanding training programs that support emerging film and documentary makers. The event usually lasts for around nine days and takes place during the first week of March.
Saints’ Week (Semana Santa)
Another big family event on the calendar starts on Easter weekend. Semana Santa is a time when most Mexicans head to their family homes or go on vacation. It is vivaciously celebrated in Mexico City where many parades are held, and is one of the capital’s most significant events.
Guelaguetza Dance Festival
Celebrated in the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca, Guelaguetza, which is also known as Los Lunes del Cerro, is an indigenous cultural event and one of the largest festivals in the state. Based on a pre-Hispanic ritual, the event in mid-July celebrates indigenous tribes, traditional dancing, dress, native bands, and classic handicrafts. It draws crowds from all over Mexico and is now a major tourist attraction.
Independence Day (Dia de la Independencia)
Undoubtedly Mexico’s most patriotic and revered holiday, the anniversary of Mexico’s independence, achieved in 1810, falls on September 16. Festivities start the previous evening when the country’s president bellows the cry, “Viva Mexico,” from the National Palace. It is a proud, emotional atmosphere, especially in Mexico City’s Zocalo, and a great spectacle to behold.
All Saints’ Day/Day of the Dead (Dia de Todos los Santos/Dia de Muertos)
Bizarre to the rest of the world, Dia de Muertos is one of Mexico’s biggest celebrations. Families visit graveyards and pay their respect to lost loved ones, and in typical Mexican fashion, the festival is vibrant and colorful with skeleton themed paraphernalia adorning the streets. All Saints’ Day, which remembers the patron saints and dead infants, is celebrated on November 1, with Day of the Dead following the next day.
Day of our Lady of Guadalupe (Dia de Nuestro Senora de Guadalupe)
Although it is not a national holiday, Dia de Nuestro Senora de Guadalupe is probably Mexico’s most significant religious date. Celebrated on December 12, festivities begin a week earlier and occur throughout the country. The festival commemorates the appearance of the Virgin in front indigenous Mexican Juan Diego, and to this day, children go to the church dressed as him during the event.