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15 Top Festivals In Mexico To Explore When On Mexico Vacations

“la grandeza de una cultura se puede encontrar en sus festivales.” aka “the greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals”

 

Fiesta Time! It is no secret that Mexico is known for its fiesta, food, and dance. The city needs no reason to celebrate despite having several festivals that happen every year. If you want to have a small get-together with your friends or beloved ones, all you have to tune in to the mesmerizing Mexican music, groove your waist to the magical dance steps, and hold on to the Mexican food and drinks to taste the MEXICAN flavor. 

 

This North American country, Mexico welcomes an array of top festivals that catch your attention for sure. If you look closely at the list of festivals that happen in Mexico, you would come to know that this country celebrates every week of the year. Predominantly, there are several Mexican festivals that even a local don’t have much about. So, brace yourself as we will reveal a list of festivals in Mexico that even a local is unaware of. We wish you a wonderful time during your Mexico vacations in advance. 

 

A thumb rule of Mexicans is to live every moment of your life when you are in Mexico country! Well-known for its luscious cuisine, mesmerizing music, rich culture, and wonderful Mexicans. People around the world love to visit this country to get a glimpse of Mexican Magic and what better way to enjoy that than the festive time. Be a part of Mexican fiestas and enjoy all the festivities during your Mexico vacations. Therefore, it is quintessentially important to plan your leisure vacation in such a way that you might not miss out on the popular festivals in Mexico. 

 

Table of Contents

 

1. New Year’s Eve 

2. Dia de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day)

3. Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas)

4. Carnaval in Veracruz and Mazatlán

5. San Pancho Music Festival

6. Spring Equinox

7. Feria Nacional de San Marcos 

8. Cinco de Mayo

9. Guelaguetza Festival 

10. Dia de la Independencia

11. Guadalajara International Film Festival

12. Cervantino Festival

13. Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

14. Dia de la Revolucion (Revolution Day)

15. Christmas

16. Last A Few Words On Mexican Festivals?

 

15 Top Festivals In Mexico To Explore 

 

‘Hay más tiempo que vida.’ aka ‘There is more time than life.’   

 

Here’s a list of the 15 top festivals in Mexico you shouldn’t miss out when on Mexico vacations. Vamos! (Let’s go)

 

1. New Year’s Eve 

 

 

New Year Celebration is one of the top festivals in Mexico and at the peak in Mexico as people get together to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year with family and friends. It is a big celebration for Mexicans and they have some traditions to follow on this day:

 

1. Eat 12 Grapes in 12 Seconds. If not, then eat all 12 grapes in 60 seconds to make their wish come true. 

 

2. Make Bacalao. Mexican traditional dish cooked with tomatoes and olives around the dried salt Cod Fish. 

 

3. Put a Golden Ring in Champagne. Raise a champagne toast on New Year’s Eve with a golden ring in it for bringing prosperity, money, and love to life. 

 

4. Outfit Tells your Fortune. Mexicans plan their outfit in hopes to get what they want in the New Year. Red underwear is to attract or find love, whereas Yellow will bring money. If not clothes, they light candles of these colors for the same purpose. 

 

Fireworks, grapes, sparkling champagne, hugs, and music are the best ways to show Mexicans’ love for celebrating New Year’s Eve.

 

Date: Jan 01

Where: All over Mexico

 

FAQ About New Year’s Eve

 

Q. What is New Year's called in Mexico?

A. New Year's Day is called Año Nuevo in Mexico which marks the beginning of the New Year.

 

Q. How do they celebrate New Year's Eve in Mexico?

A. Mexican celebrate New Year’s Eve in Mexico by doing fireworks, eating grapes, raising a toast of sparkling champagne, giving hugs, cooking Bacalao, playing music, and dancing with friends. 

 

Q. Why does Mexico celebrate New Year’s Eve?

A. Mexico uniquely celebrates New Year’s Eve by following some Mexican traditions to get good fortune, health, and wealth. 

 

2. Dia de Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day ) 

 

 

Celebrated on the 12th day after Christmas celebrations, Three Kings Day is a day that commemorates the arrival of the “Magi” or the “Three Wise Men” who presented gifts to the Christ Child. It marks on January 6th of every year and the fun fact is that all the Mexican children get gifts from the Three Kings and not from our famous Santa Claus. In Mexico, children wake up in the hope of getting gifts from the Wise Men. And the family assembles to drink hot chocolate and eat a sweet wreath-shaped bread topped with candied fruits, and dried fruits. This special bread is hidden with a lot of baked Jesus babies inside it. This is one of the top festivals that symbolize the end of Christmas break and the beginning of a party for the upcoming Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day).

 

Date: Jan 06 

Where: Mexico (Spain, And Latin America)

 

FAQ About Three Kings Day

 

Q. What are the traditions of Three Kings Day?

A. According to Mexican tradition, The Wise Men or Three Kings (Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) arrive in Bethlehem to see the Christ Child. They bring three symbolic gifts with them to present the baby Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. From there, it is a tradition to present gifts to the children on this day. A must-attend festival when on Mexico vacations. 

 

Q. What traditional food is eaten on the Three Kings Day in Mexico?

A. Hot chocolate, or a corn-based atole drink, and Rosca de Reyes, a sweet bread topped with candied fruits and filled with baked baby Jesus inside. 

 

3. Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas) 

 

 

“Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin” or the “Presentation of the Lord” are other names of one of the top festivals - Día de la Candelaria. In English, it is well-known as Candlemas, since all the people bring candles to the church on February 2 of every year. To capture this moment, you must visit here in February during Mexico vacations.

 

Date: February 02

Where: Mexico

 

FAQ About Candlemas

 

Q. What is the significance of Candlemas Day?

A. Candlemas is a Christian festival that is celebrated on February 2 annually. According to Christian belief, three occasions are celebrated - the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus' first entry into the temple; and the Virgin Mary's purification.

 

Q. How is Candlemas celebrated in Mexico?

A. Many Mexicans get dressed up in baby Jesus and visit the church with candles. After the church visit, they gathered with the beloved ones to have a delicious feast of  Rosca de Reyes and thick & warm atole. 

 

Q. Why is it called Candlemas Day?

A. This Christian festival of lights is called Candlemas because on this day all the candles bring to the church to give protection against illness and welcome the spring season.  

 

4. Carnaval in Veracruz and Mazatlán 

 

 

Every year, Mexico hosts several festivals but Carnival celebrations in Mexico are one of the top festivals that happen in Mazatlán and Veracruz. This carnival features colorful costumes, flamboyant parades, live music, and dance performances. The celebration kicks off in March month on the Pacific coast in Mazatlán and ends in Veracruz. It is usually a 9-day event that keeps people going and high on energy. People who participate in this festival move their legs on salsa music particularly in Veracruz and the brass band binds the crowd to the beats in Mazatlán.

 

Date: February 24

Where: Mexico

 

FAQ About Carnaval in Veracruz and Mazatlán 

 

Q. How does Mexico celebrate Carnaval?

A. Carnaval in Mexico is celebrated in March month with flamboyant costumes, floats, queens, colorful parades, lively music, and dancing to the beats of brass instruments and tap toes on to salsa music in the popular cities, Mazatlán and Veracruz. This is the time of year when people enjoy parades, music, dance, and food during their Mexico vacations.

 

Q. What is the main purpose of having this Carnaval?

A. Many Mexican do fasting during Lent and this festival happens just before Lent. This is one of the best opportunities to enjoy the big treat including meat, dairy products, crunchy snacks, drinks, and delicious cuisines for the last time before going on a fast. 

 

Q. What traditional foods are served during Carnaval in Veracruz and Mazatlán?

A. The most traditional and famous foods prepared for Carnival in Veracruz are Fritelle with a choice of pastry-cream filling, whereas food for Carnival in Mazatlán are savory foods such as Gnocchi, Lasagna, and Tortelli.

 

5. San Pancho Music Festival

 

 

One of the top festivals and the largest music festival held annually during the weekend of February, San Pancho Music Festival is a 3-day event that assists in making San Pancho the cultural center of the Riviera Nayarit. This music festival features several musicians and around 27 bands performing all over the globe. Therefore, this deserves your visit during your Mexico vacations. 

 

Date: February 25

Where: Nayarit, Mexico

 

FAQ About San Pancho Music Festival

 

Q. Where is the San Pancho Music Festival located?

A. Officially named San Francisco, the village of San Pancho is located in the state of Nayarit, just about 30-miles in the north of Puerto Vallarta.

 

Q. What is the purpose of organizing the San Pancho Music Festival?

A. The main purpose of organizing this Music Festival is to help San Pancho be acknowledged as “the Cultural Heart of Riviera Nayarit”

 

Q. How many bands perform at the San Pancho Music Festival?

A. This music festival features around 27 bands performing all over the globe. 

 

6. Spring Equinox

 

 

The Spring Equinox in Teotihuacán is held annually between the 20th and 21st of March at the pre-Hispanic site of Teotihuacán, Mexico. One of the top festivals is marked as the turning point when days get longer and nights to get shorter. Chichén Itzá and Malinalco, Mexico State are other pre-Hispanic sites where this event is mirrored, which can be experienced during Cancun vacation

 

Date: February 20

Where: Teotihuacán, Mexico

 

FAQ About Spring Equinox

 

Q. What happens during the spring equinox?

A. On this day, the light makes a serpent-like shadow right on the temple and people come across the world to see this amazing sight. It deserves a visit while on Mexico vacations

 

Q. Why is it called Spring Equinox?

A. The Spring Equinox or also known as Vernal Equinox denotes the beginning of the spring in which the sun starts to move towards the north across the equator.  

 

Q. What is the exact time and month of the Spring Equinox 2021?

A. On March 19, 2021, it will leave Chichen Itza at 4.45 pm. Spring Equinox 2021 in the Northern Hemisphere is at 3:37 AM on Saturday, March 20. It 

 

7. Feria Nacional de San Marcos

 

 

A national fair is held annually in the Mexican state of Aguascalientes, the Feria Nacional de San Marcos occurs in April between 24 to 26 for three weeks. Initially, this festival was limited to harvesting grapes (vendimia), but later on, when it gets tourism, bullfighting and cockfighting have become the main attraction of the festival. This is one of the top festivals in Mexico that should be attended during your Mexico vacations.  

 

Date: April 25

Where: Aguascalientes, Mexico

 

FAQ About Feria Nacional de San Marcos

 

Q. Where does the Feria Nacional de San Marcos take place?

A. The Feria Nacional de San Marcos annually takes place in the Mexican state of Aguascalientes.

 

Q. How long does the Feria Nacional de San Marcos last for?

A. This annual festival begins in April and lasts about three weeks. 

 

Q. What activities do the Feria Nacional de San Marcos host?

A. This annual fair hosts an array of activities, of which bullfighting and cockfighting are the most popular, apart from the musical concerts, art exhibitions, and cultural programs. 

 

8. Cinco de Mayo

 

 

This annual event is not related to food festivals or any kind of music festival, however, this Mexican celebration marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. This popular festival is popular across the U.S., which features colorful-frilled costume parades, musical and cultural programs. 

 

Date: May 05

Where: Mexico and U.S.

 

FAQ About Cinco de Mayo

 

Q. Why is Cinco de Mayo celebrated?

A. This Mexican celebration is celebrated to mark the victory of the Mexican Army over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. 

 

Q. What is the most popular food served at Cinco de Mayo in Mexico?

A. Chicken Enchiladas, Mexican Red Rice, Beef Tostadas, are the most popular cuisines served on this occasion. However, Mole Poblano is the main ingredient of all Mexican cuisines.

 

Q. What to wear to a Cinco de Mayo celebration?

A. Cinco de Mayo celebration is a very colorful celebration that welcomes funky clothing to pep up the frisky atmosphere. No fancy is embraced, only casual and colorful clothing is appreciated. 

 

9. Guelaguetza Festival 

 

 

This annual celebration is also known as Los Lunes del Cerro, in English translation, it means "Mondays on the Hill". The Guelaguetza festival is one of the top festivals celebrated in Oaxaca, Mexico, particularly on the last two Mondays of July. 

 

Date: July 22

Where: Oaxaca, Mexico

 

FAQ About Guelaguetza Festival 

 

Q. What is the Festival de la Guelaguetza?

A. The Guelaguetza or Los Lunes del Cerro (Mondays on the Hill), is an annual cultural celebration that happens in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. The festival features a traditional costume dance performed by the villagers.

 

Q. When and where is Guelaguetza celebrated?

A. The Guelaguetza Festival is celebrated in the Oaxaca de Juárez (Oaxaca city) and nearby villages on the last two Mondays of July.

 

Q. Why is La Guelaguetza celebrated?

A. The festival is dedicated to the goddess of corn known as Centeotl and it is an important cultural program for local peoples of the state and is celebrated for the survival of ancient cultures.

 

10. Dia de la Independencia (Independence Day in Mexico)

 

 

Dia de la Independencia is the day that marks the independence of Mexico from Spain long back in 1810. The celebration starts right from midnight on September 15th and continues till the next morning of September 16th. This is considered one of the top festivals in Mexico that you must attend. 

 

Date: September 16

Where: Overall Mexico

 

FAQ About Dia de la Independencia 

 

Q. How is Dia de la Independencia celebrated in Mexico?

A. Mexican independence day is celebrated right from midnight of Sept.15th till the next morning with parades, street parties colored in Mexico’s flag - green, white, and red, colorful costumes, sumptuous traditional foods, and drinks. Traditional folk dance performances attract tourism and mariachi music holds the crowd. The celebration ends with a military march that goes to the memorial of Hidalgo.

 

Q. What is the significance of Dia de la Independencia in Mexico?

A. Dia de la Independencia marks Mexico's independence from Spain in September 1810. 

 

Q. What was Mexico first called?

A. Mexico was first called the Viceroyalty of New Spain or Nueva Espana. 

 

11. Guadalajara International Film Festival

 

 

This week-long festival is held annually in March but due to ongoing pandemic restrictions, it got rescheduled for October. Guadalajara International Film Festival is one of the most popular film festivals not only in Mexico but overall in Latin America. The screening of the best selection of Spanish-language films and Mexican films of the year takes place at this festival. Considered one of the top festivals for screening Spanish and Mexican films and one must attend during Mexico vacations. 

 

Date: March (Rescheduled for October 01, 2021)

Where: Guadalajara, Mexico

 

FAQ About Guadalajara International Film Festival

 

Q. What films get screened at Guadalajara International Film Festival? 

A. Mexican and Spanish-language films of the year get screened at Guadalajara International Film Festival. 

 

Q. Where does the Guadalajara International Film Festival happen?

A. Guadalajara International Film Festival is held in Guadalajara, Mexico in March. 

 

Q. What variety of films feature at this festival?

A. A wide variety of films including short-film, feature-length films, documentaries, and  films for children. 

 

12. Festival Internacional Cervantino

 

 

The Festival Internacional Cervantino commonly known as El Cervantino is a cultural and artistic festival that occurs annually in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico. It happens in October month for two weeks every year and it comes under the top festivals to happen in Mexico. If you plan to visit Mexico in October, then do attend this festival during Mexico vacations. 

 

Date: October 13 

Where: Guanajuato, Central Mexico

 

FAQ About 

 

Q. How long does the Festival Internacional Cervantinoast?

A. The Festival Internacional Cervantino is celebrated every year for two weeks.

 

Q. Which famous Spanish writer this festival is named after?

A. This festival is named after a Spanish writer called Miguel de Cervantes, that is why this festival has focused on Spanish art. 

 

Q. Where is this festival celebrated every year?

A. It is celebrated in Guanajuato, a small city located in central Mexico. 

 

13. Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

 

 

Día de Muertos, better known asDay of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated across Mexico. This festival symbolizes the reunion of the dead and living, unlike other holidays, this festival turns mourning into a celebration by ofrendas the deceased ones with altars adorned with Cempasuchitl (Mexican marigold) flowers, photos of the dead, and their favorite foods and drinks. This is one of the top festivals in Mexico that must be attended when on Mexico vacations.  

 

Date: November 02

Where: Oaxaca City and Mexico

 

FAQ About Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

 

Q. How is “Día de Muertos” celebrated?

A. The Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos), is a Mexican holiday that marks the reunion of the deceased and living. Livings offer an altar decorated with Mexican marigold flowers, photos of the dead, and their favorite foods and drinks. Toys are kept for dead kids, and favorite items like alcohol, cigars, etc. are kept for adults.  

 

Q. What are the three days of Día de Muertos?

A. Día de Muertos celebrations display a blend of Spanish culture, Mesoamerican ritual, and European religion. The three days are: 

- October 31- Halloween

- November 1 - “Día de Los Santos Inocentes,” or the Day of the Children 

- November 2 - All Saints Day or All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead.

 

Q. What is the flower that is associated with Día de Muertos

A. Cempasuchitl or Mexican marigolds are associated with Dia de Muertos as they symbolize the fragility of life. These flowers bloom in early summer and wither with the fall's first frost.

 

14. Dia de la Revolucion (Revolution Day)

 

 

Revolution Day is an official holiday in Mexico, celebrated every year on November 20 to recognize the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. A 10-year revolution started to end the struggle against dictator José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori. 

 

Date: November 20

Where: Mexico

 

FAQ About Dia de la Revolucion - Revolution Day

 

Q. Why do we celebrate Revolution Day?

A. This official holiday celebrates the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, in which Madero defeated dictator José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori and gave Mexicans freedom. 

 

Q. How does Mexico celebrate Revolution Day?

A. The Tri-Color Mexcian flag is flown and the parade approaches at the Revolution Memorial while shouting “Viva la Revolución''. The entire city is decorated with lights and Mexican food is served during the event. 

 

Q. What are the main reasons for the Mexican Revolution?

A. The following are the causes of the Mexican Revolution:

- To end the dictatorship of José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori. 

- Exploitation and bad treatment of workers.

- Discrimination between rich and poor.

 

15. Christmas

 

 

It will take you by surprise that Mexico celebrates Christmas twice a year. The celebration begins from 12 December to 6 Jan and the second Christmas-like celebration is done in February. This is one of the top festivals that should be attended when you visit Mexico.

 

Date: December 25 

Where: Overall Mexico

 

FAQ About Christmas In Mexico 

 

Q. What are popular food and drinks made in Mexico on Christmas?

A. Popular dishes prepared in Mexico on Christmas are as follows:

1. Tamales. 

2. Bacalao. 

3. Ensalada de Noche Buena. 

4. Pozole.

5. Mexican Christmas Salad

6. Romeritos. 

7. Pavo. 

8. Ponche Navideño. 

9. Bunuelos.

 

Q. How do Mexicans celebrate Christmas?

A. Mexicans do candle-lit processions, sing Spanish Christmas carols, prepare traditional Mexican dishes on Christmas such as Ensalada de Noche Buena, Pavo, etc., and fireworks. In Southern Mexico, children expect Santa Claus to come on Christmas eve, but in most of the cities of Mexico, children expect gifts on 6th Jan at Epiphany celebrations. 

 

Q. Which flower is important for Christmas in Mexico?

A. Symbolic poinsettias or “La flor de Nochebuena” (Holy night flower). Priests observed that this flower blooms naturally in the fall, an auspicious sign of being auspicious to this Christmas celebration. 

 

Last A Few Words On Mexican Top Festivals?

 

Celebrating in the Mexican country itself is a treat, therefore, it is important to make sure you choose Mexico vacations around the festive season to attend almost all top festivals that are mentioned in this article. 

 

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