Filled with delicious street food, vibrant music, and spectacular dancing and fireworks, Mexico’s many festivals are true celebrations of Mexican culture. But the fun doesn’t stop there! These festivals are also great opportunities to learn about Mexican traditions, connect with the locals, and show your pride in the community of which you are a part. With so many fun festivals to choose from, all you need to do is pick one and get started! Here’s our rundown of Mexico’s most popular festivals, as well as some suggestions on how best to celebrate each one.
The Day of the Dead
The Mexican Day of the Dead is a holiday that celebrates the lives and memories of friends and family members who have passed away. It is seen as a time to pay respects to loved ones who have died and allow their spirits to be at peace. The day starts off with people gathering in cemeteries, decorating graves with flowers and candles, or cleaning them. People also visit their relatives’ graves. After doing this, they head home for a big feast in honor of the dead. This meal includes dishes made from corn dough called pan de muerto (bread of the dead) which represent offerings for the souls in purgatory. They are also given dishes made with sugar skulls on them, as these symbolize life after death.
The Guelaguetza Festival is a celebration where you can enjoy the food and culture that is typical to Oaxaca. The festival lasts for nine days, with the final day being reserved for a battle between the Oaxacan tamal and mole Poblano. At the Guelaguetza Festival, people relax in their hammocks, eat traditional Mexican dishes on their outdoor patios or at food stands, and play popular music throughout the streets. It’s an opportunity to partake in some good old-fashioned fun without having to pay admission. Usually during this time of year, it can be hot and humid outside- perfect conditions for relaxing at home with a cool drink or just staying indoors in front of your fan.
The celebration begins with a procession consisting of three children carrying a candle representing the Holy Family. They knock on doors asking for shelter and are refused at first by the townspeople who want them to go elsewhere. But when they go home without finding a place, they find their house illuminated by candles meaning that someone has given them refuge inside their home. Once all is calm and safe, everyone goes back outside where they can enjoy music and dance until sunrise. Dancing is key during this time in an effort to remove any negative energies from the previous year. And it’s not just about forgetting about work; there are plenty of other celebratory aspects too such as tamales, barbacoa (made with roasted lamb), and albóndigas (meatballs).
Celebrated from December 16th until Christmas Eve, Las Posadas is a festival with religious origins that celebrates the visit of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The festival has religious roots but has been adapted by Mexican culture over the years so it’s now more like a big family party than anything else. It features all kinds of fun activities including singing, dancing, and, most importantly, food. Typical dishes include tamales (a corn-based dish), mole (made with chocolate), and pan de muerto (bread made in the shape of skulls). These are often served alongside beverages such as atole (hot spiced beverage) or champurrado (similar to hot cocoa) for guests who need something warm on those chilly nights. For the kids, there are pinatas hanging everywhere for them to take turns smashing open with sticks! If you’re looking for a fun time this holiday season then you should head down south to celebrate Las Posadas!
In order to avoid being caught off guard, we’ve put together a list of the most important festivals happening this year. However, if you’re looking for some more chill and low-key festivities, these are always an option.
Fiesta de la Candelaria (February 2)
This celebration is one of the most popular in the country and has been around since 1810. Its roots are based on superstition and Catholicism as it is believed that people living during this time were protected by angels who helped them get through difficult times. As a result, people would celebrate by singing songs in honor of the Virgin Mary while carrying candles to light up their homes and neighborhoods. This tradition continues today with thousands gathering to honor her with song, dance and prayer.
The celebration begins on Palm Sunday and ends the following Saturday. In preparation for the weeklong festivities, families will exchange palm fronds and flowers in a symbolic gesture called Palma or Palo Santo. The most important day of Semana Santa is Good Friday when many Mexicans Catholics observe a tradition known as Recuerdo, in which people take flowers to loved ones’ graves. The most popular place for this activity is Zócalo Square in Mexico City.
Afterward, there are processions across the country where ashes from fires are carried by priests and passed out to be smudged onto participants’ foreheads as a sign of penance and mourning.
Día de la Candelaria
Día de la Candelaria is the day honoring the Virgin of Candelaria, which falls on February 2nd. Celebrations are usually held on February 1st in Mexican states where February 2nd is a holiday. The festivities take place over several days and include parades, dances, parties and other events. Día de la Candelaria is a popular event for families to celebrate with their children because there are many traditions that focus on children and family-oriented activities for kids.