Mexican celebrations are known to be some of the best in the world. The people love a good party and they pull out all the stops to make it happen, especially when it comes to the unique holidays celebrated throughout the year.
Days like Christmas, Independence Day, the Day of the Dead, and New Years Eve bring about some of the best celebrations and they feature plenty of Mexican traditions that often include vibrant colors, festive music, unique dances, and so much more.
Learn about the most important holidays in Mexico and use the festivities as inspiration for booking your vacation. Either unique to Mexico or unique in the way Mexicans celebrate them, the following Mexican holidays will leave you with unforgettable memories and even more reason to enjoy the seasonal holidays.
Bringing an end to the seasonal holidays from December to January is Día de Reyes, or Three Kings Day, which falls on January 6th each year. This unique holiday, celebrated by Catholics around the world, honors the day the three wise men gave gifts to Jesus Christ.
Mexican traditions not only call for the giving of gifts, but also the parting of the rosca de reyes, a wreath-shaped sweet bread that is filled with one or more figurines of baby Jesus. As you part the rosca, whoever ends up with a figurine must bring tamalesfor everyone on February 2nd, Candelaria Day.
Unlike other nations of the world, Easter is celebrated over the course of two weeks in Mexico with Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Semana de Pascua (Easter Week). The Mexican celebrations during this time often include parades, church services, biblical reenactments, and festivals.
The time period also coincides with the Spring Break festivities that are going on in the major tourist destinations in Mexico, such as Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta. At the bars and resorts in these cities, you’ll find massive parties, feasts, and outdoor activities the whole family can enjoy.
April 30th is Children’s Day, one of the holidays in Mexico dedicated exclusively to honoring the importance children play in our lives. Typically a grand celebration with fun games, outdoor activities, and something special for each child, "El Día del niño" is one of the Mexican holidays you won’t want to miss, especially if you’re vacationing with kids. If you’re traveling through Mexico on this day, you might even consider bringing along some toys to donate or little candies that you can hand out to the kids you see throughout your day.
While widely believed to be Mexican Independence Day, May 5th is actually the day that honors the defeat of French forces during the Battle of Puebla in the Franco-Mexican war. The day, however, has become synonymous with Mexican pride on an international scale, with large festivities taking place in the United States as Mexican-Americans, and those who love Mexican traditions and culture, celebrate with the typical food, drinks, music, and laughter.
On May 10th every year, people gather for Mexican celebrations that honor the matriarchs in their families. The day, which is a very big deal throughout Mexico, often includes large feasts, plenty of Mariachi music, and special performances at schools and around town.
If you plan on being in Mexico on Mother’s Day, make your dinner reservations, buy your flowers, and get your gifts early as restaurants fill up fast and shops quickly run out. Overall, it is a great time that everyone can enjoy.
Of all the holidays in Mexico, Independence Day is probably one of the most traditional. Celebrations begin on the night of September 15th with the parties, fireworks, and the iconic Grito de Dolores that can be heard from almost every home, town square, and restaurant in the nation.
This loud yell of “Viva Mexico” was once the battle cry of Miguel Hidalgo, a priest who called for Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1810. The festivities continue onto the next day as people feast on authentic Mexican food, toast to the nation, and celebrate with music, dancing, and traditional games.
El Día de Muertos is one of the most unique holidays in all the world. This two-day celebration, from November 1st to the 2nd, honors those who have passed on to the after-life, leaving behind memories, love, and spiritual protection. While November first is the day dedicated to children and November 2nd to adults, you can see the same lively celebrations and traditional decorations at altars and gravesites dedicated to the deceased.
On the Day of the Dead, you’ll also see traditional dances, festive music, and elaborate costumes of catrinas (female skeletons) and catrins (male skeletons) as they walk the streets of every town. Of all the holidays in Mexico, this is among the most beautiful.
Kicking off the winter seasonal holidays are the twelve days of December that lead up to the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico. Between December 1st and the twelfth, you’ll see parades, traditional dances, bright costumes, and lively celebrations in honor of the Virgin Mary, who appeared to St. Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531, requesting he build a shrine in her honor and collect roses. Upon meeting with the Bishop to get the church construction approved, Juan Diego opened his cloak, allowing roses to fall out and an image of Mary to be revealed, a sign that the request was real. Since then, the image has played an important role in Mexican traditions and culture.
Mexican celebrations for Christmas are very similar to that of other countries, with the exception that large feasts and gift giving usually takes place on the 24th rather than on the 25th of December. You also aren’t likely to see real Christmas trees decorated around town, but you will find piñatas, lights, and poinsettias on every corner.
Around the world, people from every country celebrate the New Year with their own unique traditions and Mexico is no different. On December 31st, you’ll see fireworks displays, family dinners, and friends toasting to the future with golden rings in their Champagne flutes.
The ring is believed to ensure prosperity, good fortune, and luck in love, but you need to hug everyone in the room while wishing them a happy new year in order for the trick to work. You’ll also see people eating 12 grapes in 12 seconds as the countdown begins. With each grape, you focus on your wish or resolution, and if you’ve eaten them all within a minute, it’s believed you’ll accomplish your goals.
In addition to the standard New Year’s celebrations, in Mexico it is also customary to wear red or yellow underwear to guarantee the upcoming year is filled with love or financial prosperity.