Mexico is one of the world’s most beautiful countries. It lies in Central America, bordering the United States. However, Mexicans have a totally different culture from Americans although they lie on the same continent. They speak Spanish and take pride in their Hispanic heritage.
Because this country has a very unique culture, it shows the world its unique traditions and customs through festivities. Festivals play a great role in narrating history and giving a quick glimpse of what the people of the country are like, and festivals in Mexico are very special.
Since we are eager to learn about Mexican culture, we will show you the most famous festivals in Mexico that people celebrate every year. Get yourself accustomed to the unique public celebrations of the Mexicans and get to know a quick history of this amazing country.
Table of Contents
1. The Day of the Dead (Día de Los Muertos)
This may sound a little frightening at first, but death is something to honour and respect in Mexico rather than fear it. The Day of the Dead takes place every year on November 1st. It occurs one day after the American Halloween, but this one is not about scary and horror stuff. The Day of the Dead is one of the most important festivals in Mexico.
It is the day when the barrier between the worlds of the alive and the dead is no longer there. Dead people visit their family members, not in a creepy way, but a very emotional one. Mexicans take this day to remember their loved ones that were long gone and celebrate their memory. They believe there is what is called the Land of the Dead, where a great festival takes place, so people feel connected with the deceased family members.
People take flowers, favourite food, and photos to the graveyards of their loved ones. They share some traditional music and dance in a very joyful way, to feel the presence of their loved people’s spirits. We recommend that you see the Disney masterpiece, Coco, as it explains the whole idea of this special festival.
2. The Mexican Independence Day
Most of the countries that were under the rule of another country have their Independence Day celebrations, commemorating the day when they earned their own freedom and independence. Mexico is no different when it comes to this very special event. In fact, Mexican Independence Day is one of the most important festivals in Mexico.
This event takes place on September 16 and it is a national holiday in Mexico. On this day, people celebrate the moment when Father Hidalgo, a Mexican priest, took the initiative to call for the liberation of Mexico. That happened in 1810 when Mexico was under the rule of Spain. That is why you can see how Spain influenced the culture and heritage of Mexico, being quite close to one another.
Mexican Independence Day has its very own traditions and customs. People march in the streets shooting festive fireworks and playing some joyful music, and parties are just everywhere. The flag of Mexico is hung and flies freely in the air around every corner and every street. Foods and drinks fill the public streets and people are out enjoying their time with their family and friends.
3. Cinco de Mayo (5th of May)
In Spanish, Cinco de Mayo literally means the 5th of May. It is another one of the significant festivals in Mexico and it is so apparent on which day it actually takes place. The Mexicans seem to have picked this special day to take pride in their heritage and celebrate it to let the world see how proud they are.
It is also the date on which Mexico won its battle in Puebla city against the Second French Empire. That was back in 1862. However, many people seem to confuse this celebration with Mexican Independence Day. In fact, although both are important festivals in Mexico and celebrate victory over other nations, they take place on different days and commemorate different events.
Just like every other festival, it is a day of great festivities, parades everywhere, dancing the night away, and eating delicious food. Mexicans never miss a chance to channel their inner party animals. They hold large festivals on this day and everyone just seems to enjoy themselves. Did we mention that tacos are distributed widely across the streets?
4. Day of the Races – The Day of Hispanic People (Día de la Raza)
Day of the Races is a celebration that takes place every year on October 12. On this day, the Mexicans celebrate their Hispanic heritage and take pride in it. Yes, these people always make sure the world knows how happy of who they are and it is just a beautiful thing. Since the celebration includes the Hispanic people, it goes way beyond Mexico.
Hispanic people are those who come from countries that speak Spanish and they are mostly found in Latin America and, of course, Spain. Although it is one of the important festivals in Mexico, it is also celebrated in Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, and other Hispanic countries. It is called the Day of the Races in Mexico, but other countries may have different naming, like the Day of the Hispanic People or the Hispanic Heritage.
Again and again, on October 12, parades and joyful fiestas fill the Mexican streets. People dance and sing all day long. They also gather to have their traditional food together and enjoy some succulent Mexican delicacies. Other activities that people like to enjoy on this day are watching bullfights, dancing in colourful outfits, and punching piñatas.
5. Guelaguetza Festival (Mondays on the Hill)
Festivals in Mexico seem to be almost all year round. This time, we are spotting the light on one of the most important festivals in the culture of Mexico, the Guelaguetza Festival. This festival, in particular, focuses the light on the culture of Oaxaca, a Mexican city. Of course, cities around Mexico share the same culture, yet some slight traditions can vary from one place to another.
The dates on which this festival is celebrated are the two Mondays that follow July 16, so the festival actually is a two-day celebration separated by a week. People sometimes celebrate by separating both genders and having a girls’ celebration and a boys’ one. However, they may gather to enjoy traditional Hispanic food, wear Mexican attires, and walk in parades, dancing and singing.
They gather to savor delicious Hispanic food, enjoy parades, and dance and sing to the beat of lively music. One of the festival’s highlights is the presentation of “guelaguetzas,” which are offerings of regional products and handicrafts.
These are often shared as a symbol of generosity and unity among the indigenous groups. The aroma of delicious Oaxacan cuisine fills the air, with vendors offering local specialties like tlayudas, mole, and chapulines (fried grasshoppers) for those feeling adventurous.
The Guelaguetza Festival is a wonderful opportunity to experience the incredible cultural heritage of Oaxaca and Mexico as a whole, making it a unique and unforgettable celebration.
6. Las Posadas
Religion seems to play an important part in the life of Mexicans. Most people follow in the footsteps of Jesus and believe in the greater God. Thus, they cherish their religious history and honour the memories associated with specific dates. In this case, Las Posadas is one of the religious festivals in Mexico
This festival is one week long, taking place on the 16th of December and ending on the 24th, considered part of the Christmas celebrations. The celebration commemorates the journey that Mary and Joseph embarked on from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They were on a mission of finding a safe spot so Jesus could be born in peace.
It is another festival that is celebrated across Latin America and other Hispanic countries. However, how people celebrate can differ from one culture to another. In Mexico, adults and children alike have fun punching a star-shaped piñata. A procession to honour the birth of Jesus is made by most people before each gathering. Then people start meeting over to have fun and eat their traditional Mexican food.
7. The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Guadalupe is a famous Basilica in Mexico. On December 12, the Mexicans celebrate an event that is believed to have taken place in Mexico City. The tale goes as follows: a Mexican patron saint encountered the Virgin Mary back in 1531 on both December 9 and 12. However, the celebration takes place on the 12th.
It is a Catholic feast that some people call Our Lady of Guadalupe. Masses are attended at the churches, observing the image of Mary. Children dress in traditional attires that they believe to be blessed. People finish their religious rituals and then head to their gatherings with friends and families to enjoy the traditional food of this holiday, including tortas, bunuelos, and raspados.