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Mexico: What's on when

January

Epiphany (Dia de los Reyes Magos)
On January 6th, Mexicans celebrate Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. Gifts are exchanged and a round cake called Rosca de los Reyes is eaten. A small doll is traditionally hidden in the cake; the lucky person who gets the slice containing the doll is expected to host a party on Dia de la Candelaria in February.

February

Candlemas Day (Dia de la Candelaria)
On February 2nd, the religious holiday of Dia de la Candelaria is celebrated throughout Mexico with a range of festivities, including processions and bullfights. In southern and central Mexico, tamales are traditionally eaten on this day and blessings of both seeds and candles are held.

March

Carnaval
Not to be outdone by their feisty Latin American neighbours, communities across Mexico hold a colourful carnaval every year during the five days leading up to Ash Wednesday. Carnaval is marked by exuberant street parties and traditional music, parades, floats and spectacular costumes. The largest and most popular Carnival celebrations are held in Mazatlán and Veracruz, as well as in Baja California and the Yucatán Peninsulas.

Benito Juarez's birthday
On March 21st, Mexico marks the birthday of Benito Juarez, one of the countries heroes and its first president.

April

Holy Week (Semana Santa)
Holy Week, which runs from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, is an important religious time in Mexico, which has a population that’s almost 90% Catholic. Passion plays are staged throughout the country and re-enactments of the crucifixion are held in towns and cities such as Iztapalapa, Patzcuaro, San Cristobal de las Casas and Taxco. Families attend mass on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and it’s traditional to break cascarones – died egg shells filled with confetti – with family and friends.

May

Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the city of Puebla to commemorate the Mexican defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

June

Navy Day (Dia de la Marina)
Towns along Mexico’s coast celebrate Dia de la Marina on June 1st with parties and fireworks. Corpus Christi

Across Mexico, Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday with religious processions through the streets, food, musical performances and dancing. The Voladores de Papantla, of “flying dancers”, traditionally perform near the archaeological site of El Tajin, and celebrations are held in Mexico City near the Zocalo, Cathedral and National Palace.

July

La Guelaguetza Dance Festival
In mid-July, the fascinating city of Oaxaca hosts La Guelaguetza, one of Mexico’s biggest annual festivals. The festival has pre-Hispanic origins, and today is an opportunity for celebration of Mexico’s indigenous cultures, with traditional music, dance, food and handicrafts.

August

International Chamber Music Festival
During the first two weeks of August, San Miguel de Allende hosts the popular International Chamber Music Festival, with top Mexican and international performers.

Dia de la Asuncion de la Virgen Guadalupe
On August 15th, Mexicans mark the ascension of the Virgin of Guadalupe with processions and special masses – including a huge mass in Mexico City, at the Basilica de Guadalupe.

September<

Independence Day
On September 16th, Mexico celebrates its independence. Festivities begin on the night of the 15th, when, by tradition, the president shouts "Viva Mexico" from the balcony of the National Palace at 11 p.m. and Mexicans respond with "Viva!" Among the biggest Independence Day celebrations are those in Queretaro and San Miguel de Allende, due to their significance during and after the Mexican War of Independence.

October

Festival Cervantino Internacional
In October, the city of Guanajuato hosts the Festival Cervantino Internacional, known locally just as El Cervantino. The festival is one of the biggest artistic and cultural events in Latin America, with theatre, music and dance performances by top local and international artists, along with art and photographic exhibits.

Fiestas de Octubre in Guadalajara
Guadalajara is the birthplace of the Mariachi. Throughout October, Mariachi musicians converge in Guadalajara to celebrate the musical style that has become synonymous with Mexico.

November

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)
On November 1st, saints and those who died as children are honoured. The next day is All Souls’ Day, when departed adults are remembered. Especially in southern and central Mexico, families clean and decorate the graves of loved ones. Sugar-candy skulls, pan de muerto (or bread of the dead) and skeletons are sold throughout the country.

December

Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
On December 12th, Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe is celebrated with a mass ceremony and a traditional fair, along with free musical performances at the Basilica de Guadalupe's plaza.