Mexican Culture -Festivals and Celebrations of Mexico
Mexican celebrations / Festivals of Mexico
Mexicans are full of energy and life. They are fun loving and party
going people. A large number of festivals celebrated by the Mexicans
show just how they love to enjoy life. In Mexico, there are several
national holidays in a year. Most of the celebrations are religious
ones. But the truth is that Mexicans only need an occasion to celebrate.
Some of the most common celebrations are mentioned below, which gives
a brief knowledge regarding the Mexican culture and customs.
- Posadas y Navidad: It is one of the biggest fiestas of the year and most of the people in Mexico take the last two weeks in December off. During the last few days before Christmas, children take out processions to symbolize the pilgrimages of Joseph and Mary. The ceremony often begins in the afternoon or at dinner time when the family shares a rosca or two (a rosca is a sweet, ring-shaped loaf with a ceramic muñeca (doll) representing the Christ child baked inside). There will be fire works, decorations, dance, music and lots of fun as a part of the celebrations.
- Los Dias de los Muertos: It is on November 1st and 2nd, where celebration of both life and death takes place and people accept the totality of both life and death. People remember their loved ones who have departed from them and pray for them. They prepare their favorite food and Cemeteries are decorated with fresh flowers. They also build private altars honoring the dead and make sugar skulls, marigolds, Paper Mache sculptures etc.
- Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe: It is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated on December 12th, when people from all parts of Mexico make their way to Mexico's chief religious center at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, located in Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo, a northern neighborhood of Mexico City. The ceremony starts with Holy mass after which the feast begins with delicious food, vendors selling crafts and clothes, along with many performances of music and dance.Some pilgrims walk on their knees on the stone street leading to the Basilica, asking for miracles or giving thanks to the virgin for a petition granted. Some others present bouquets of flowers or perform dances and sing for her.
- Cinco de Mayo: This day is celebrated on May 5th as a remembrance of the battle of Puebla (1862), where the Mexican army won over the French army and fled them from their home. This day is celebrated in United States too. It has become a celebration of independence, liberty and freedom. On this day, people have lots of fun and indulge themselves in dance, music and food.
- El Grito de Dolores: Celebrated on September 16th, this is a day in which Father Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest in the small central Mexican town of Dolores announced the Mexican revolt against Spanish rule. He rang the bell of his church and called everyone to fight for liberty against Spanish rule. The war for independence lasted for 10 years and this day marks the start of it.Today, the story is re-enacted in every zocalo, or plaza, in Mexico and flags wave from every structure.Lighted decorations are put up and several programs like parades, fireworks, dance competitions, beauty pageant contest, football, boxing, cockfighting, amateur bullfighting and parties are conducted.
- Quinceañera: In Mexico, people celebrate birthdays by arranging family get-togethers and partying with music, dance and food. This is especially so in case of 15th birthday of a girl, showing that she is becoming a woman. Most often the grandparents contribute for the party. There will be a prayer ceremony, followed by which is the party. The girl shows her dancing skills in front of the guests and chooses a special guy to accompany her for the waltz.
- Guelaguetza Festival: Celebrated in mid July, this festival is to please the corn goddess, to ensure a bountiful harvest. Catholic missionaries were not supportive of these rituals and instead promoted the feast of the Virgin of Carmen, celebrated on the 16th of July, as an alternative to the corn goddess festivities. Eventually both cultures and traditions combined and the modern La Guelaguetza festival came into being.
- Semana Santa: This is an important holiday season in Mexico after the Christmas. Starting from the Palm Sunday, the holidays last till the Easter Sunday. While all the Mexicans attend the Holy Mass on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, most of them make use of these holidays by also going on vacation too. As apart of the celebrations, people break the cascarones, colored egg shells filled with confetti, in presence of their friends and family. In most places there will be reenactment of the Passion of Christ. Some of them show their faith and repentance by inflicting pain on themselves during this most holy week
- Carnival: Carnival is officially celebrated for 5 days, leading up to Ash Wednesday. It is the last indulgence of carnal pleasures before the 40 days of fasting during lent as a preparation for Easter. People treat themselves with the most vigorous celebration taking place over the one weekend, finally getting ready to accept the restrictions of Lent. There are several events and activities that create an atmosphere of celebration. All kinds of food, drinks, snacks, crafts and games will be available in the booths open in many places. In some places, there will be rides available just like those found in amusement parks. There will be non-stop music everywhere and large fireworks in the evening.
The Mexican festivities give an insight to their rich culture, which they have beautifully preserved in their colorful festivals. Each festival or celebration is a sign of their enthusiasm and passion for life…
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