- Holidays and Celebrations
Mexican Festivals and Celebrations
Celebrate Mexico's Colorful Culture and Festivals
Mexico today is an eclectic, colorful mix of ancient pagan influences left behind by the ancient Maya, Aztec and Zapotec tribes. The Catholic missionary efforts began by the Spaniards around 1519 also added to the simmering melting pot that eventually formed a new uniquely fascinating cultural identity.
The Mexican people have preserved many of their early ancestral beliefs by blending both the new and the old rituals into the wonderful traditions festivals and holidays we see celebrated throughout Mexico today...
Peoples Guide to Mexico
Now in its updated 13th edition, The People's Guide to Mexico still offers the ideal combination of basic travel information, entertaining stories, and friendly guidance about everything from driving in Mexico City to hanging a hammock to bartering at the local mercado.
Los Dias de los Muertos - Day of the Dead
Although "Los Dias de los Muertos" literally means "Day of the Dead", it is really a Mexican celebration of both life and death.
This autumn festival, merges Aztec and Catholic practices of the Catholic feasts of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day-November 1 and 2. Celebrants honor the spirits of family ancestors; spirits of children are thought to return on the 1st and adults on the 2nd.
Altars are built, and then covered with food and decorations. Cemeteries are decorated with fresh flowers. Paper mache sculptures depict the dead in an everyday context, such as skeletons, and most are comical in nature. Through music and feasting, everyone embraces the totality of both life and death.
Day of the Dead Gifts
Celebrate Los Dias de los Muertos
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo (translated "May 5th") celebrates a very proud moment in Mexican military history. However it is a holiday, celebrated more throughout the United States, than it is in Mexico.
On May 5, 1862, in the state of Puebla de los Angeles , about 100 miles east of Mexico City, heavily outnumbered Mexican soldiers preserved the democratically elected government of President Benito Juarez against an invading French army.
The victory was a great source of national pride for the fledgling democracy of Mexico.
Share and Learn About Mexico's Fiestas
Guelaguetza Festival - Harvest Festival
Held each July, on two consecutive Mondays, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Also known locally as "Los Lunes del Cerro" (Mondays on the Hill).
The word "guelaguetza" hails from the Zapotec Indian language and means an offering or gift. The Guelaguetza Festival is rooted in pre-Columbian tradition, when the area's indigenous peoples honored the goddess of maize (corn) through ceremony and ritual.
Each year at the height of the rainy season (mid-July), the people would gather and pay homage to "Centeotl", the corn goddess, to ensure a bountiful harvest.
During the Spanish occupation, Catholic missionaries disapproved of these pagan rituals. As a result, the church 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 to evolve into the modern La Guelaguetza festival celebrated today.
Bring Mexico Home with Talavera Art
El Grito de Dolores
Mexican Independence Day
El Grito de Dolores is Mexican Independence Day.
Every 16th of September, Mexico celebrates the day that Father Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest in the small central Mexican town of Dolores, rang the bell of his church and called everyone to fight for liberty against Spanish rule.
The Independence War, lasted for 10 years. Today, the story is re-enacted in every "zocalo", or plaza, in Mexico.
Flags wave from every structure. Lighted decorations are put up, and people of all ages join in Mexico's biggest fiesta.
Dia de Nuestra SeÃ±ora de Guadalupe
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
In December of 1531. A recently converted Indian, Juan Diego, was traveling over Tepeyac Hill-the former site of an Aztec shrine to the goddess Tonantzin-outside of Mexico City.
When Juan Diego reported to the local bishop that he had seen the mother of the Christian God on Tepeyac Hill and she addressed him in his native language and asked that a shrine be built for her at the site, Church officials were skeptical.
Bishop Zumarraga asked the elderly Aztec to bring a sign of the apparition. Three days later, Juan Diego returned to the bishop and released a bundle of roses from his cloak, on which a colorful image of the Virgin Mary appeared. Stunned by the image and the abundance of roses in the middle of December, the bishop ordered that a shrine be erected.
In 1859 her feast day, December 12, became a Mexican national holiday.
Las Posadas, meaning the "shelter", commemorates the events in the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It begins on the 16th of December and continues continues through January 6.
After dark, each night of the "Posada," a procession begins, led by two children. The children carry a small pine-decorated platform bearing replicas of Joseph and Mary riding a burro. Others carry candles, paper lanterns and banners as they proceed from house to house in search of a place to stay. At each residence along the procession route they are refused shelter, until at last, they are welcomed in at the last home. They then celebrate with prayers, food and a "pinata" for the children.