Celebrations and fiestas in mexico: festival and holiday calendar
The ‘Calendar’ page is dedicated to a small selection of events arranged as a yearly calendar. The list of events will grow throughout the year of 2018. See the main article on ‘celebrations and fiestas’.
When planning a journey to Mexico, one ought to consider the weather and seasons so that one makes well-informed decisions when to go, where to go and what to pack. There is a general myth that Mexico is always hot but that is not true. Mexico is a big country, so the climate varies both by latitude and by altitude. Because of the country’s terrain being extremely different – tropical forests, dry deserts, fertile valleys and snow-capped mountains – the weather is varied too.
But there are usually just two seasons, wet and dry. Although USA, Canada and Europe share the same winter and summer seasons, people in southern Mexico refer to the dry season (during our winter) as their verano (‘summer’) and the rainy season (during our summer) as their invierno (‘winter’). In other words, in Mexico summers are rainy and winters are dry.
The rainy season (‘las aguas’) is from mid-May or June through October, but it seldom pours heavily until late summer. Except in wetter tropical areas and the Gulf of Mexico, summer rains are usually brief but intense. The rain may begin with a drizzle or may come dramatically, with a torrential downpour. It’s still hot and humid, especially in the lowlands, but there are big rainstorms, which make everything lush and green. This should not discourage you from travelling during that time, as typically it only rains at short intervals in the afternoon or at night and is followed by clear or partly cloudy skies. However, the period from mid-August to mid-October is the wettest time of year, as this is also the time of hurricanes.
The dry season (‘las sequias’) is from late-October through May. Its effects on vegetation start to show only in mid-winter. The coastal areas are hot and dry from November to April with temperatures around 28°C. The north of the country is the driest region but it gets cold. The end of the season is, however, often the hottest time of year. The month of May can be especially warm in the dry central highlands, southern Mexico and Yucatán, while, on the other hand, it can be perfect on the Pacific beaches from Manzanillo to Mazatlán and in Baja.
January is still considered a high season in Mexico, as people from colder climates seek warmer places, despite the fact that January is one of the coldest months of the year in Mexico. In fact, it can sometimes get extremely chilly in the north and the centre from November to February.
Although, officially, the end of Christmas season in Mexico on Día de los Reyes (‘Three Kings’ Day’) (6 Jan) – starting with celebrations related the patroness of Mexico on Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (‘Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe’) (12 Dec) – the season is not really over until Día de la Candelaria (‘Candlemas Day’) (2 Feb).
• 1 Jan: Año Nuevo (‘New Year’s Day’) – National holiday. Still part of the Christmas season, Año Nuevo is a day of rest after the longest night of the year – the Nochevieja (‘New Year’s Eve’, literally ‘Old Night’). For more, see the main article.
• 4–21 Jan (varies): Mérida Fest (‘Merida International Arts Festival’) – Mérida, State of Yucatán. An annual arts festival (cultural events, concerts and art exhibits) in Mérida. Link 2018 Programme.
• 6 Jan: Día de los Tres Reyes Magos, or short, Día de los Reyes (‘Three Kings’ Day’ / ‘Three Magi’s Day’ / ‘Three Wise Men’s Day’ / ‘Epiphany’) – Observance/nationwide. A feast day commemorating the visit of Jesus Christ by the Three Kings (Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) on the 12-day after his birth, bringing him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But the day is also a joy for all Mexican children as they traditionally receive gifts rather than at Christmas. For more, see the main article.
• 8–23 Jan (varies): Fiesta Grande / Fiesta de los Parachicos / Fiesta de Enero (‘Great Feast’ / ‘Feast of the Parachicos‘ / ‘January Festival’) – Chiapa de Corzo, State of Chiapas. An annual festive and ceremonial event in the city of Chiapa de Corzo, 15 km from Tuxla Gutiérrez. It is a religious, traditional and popular festival of a series of events – a conjunction of Roman Catholic religious ceremonies and processions; of traditional music and dance in the streets by the residents wearing masks and colourful outfits; of local cuisine; and of handcrafts, particularly masks, embroidery and lacquerware. Link 2018 programme. For more, see the main article.
• 12 Jan–6 Feb (varies): Feria de León (‘León Fair’) – León, State of Guanajuato. An annual fair in León, with concerts and shows (animals, art & crafts, circus, pyro musical, rodeo and charro), food and parades and mechanical rides. The fair celebrated its 140 birthday in 2016. Link 2018 Programme.
• 17 Jan: Día de San Antonio de Abad (‘Feast of Saint Anthony the Great or the Abbot’) – Nationwide. A feast day commemorating the death of an Egyptian Christian, Saint Anthony the Abbot (c. 251–356 AD), the founder of the Christian monasticism. He is considered a patron saint of farmers and a protector of the animal kingdom as well as those inflicted with skin diseases. For more, see the main article.
• 18 Jan: Día de Santa Prisca (‘Feast of Saint Prisca’) – Taxco, State of Guerrero. A feast day in the city of Taxco commemorating the patron saint of the cathedral, Saint Prisca. For more, see the main article.
• 19–27 Jan (varies): FAOT: Festival Alfonso Ortis Tirado (‘Festival Alfonso Ortis Tirado’) – Álamos, State of Sonora. An annual music festival held in Álamos since 1985 in honour of their famous local resident, Alfonso Ortiz Tirado (1893–1960) – a doctor and opera singer. As a medical doctor, he was the personal physician of the famous female painter, Frida Kahlo (1907–1954). As a musician, he studied under José Pierson (1861–1957) – the teacher and promoter of Mexican musical talents, both in classical and popular traditions – and soon after succeeded as a singer on international level, earning the label of ‘Tenor of the Americas’. The festival’s program has an emphasis on operatic singing and chamber music, but popular music and other art forms are also featured. The festival has grown over the years and is now one of northern Mexico’s most important cultural events, drawing over 100,000 people from many different countries. Link 2018 Programme.
• 28 Jan–4 Feb (varies): FIAM: Festival Internacional de Aves Migratorias de San Blas (‘International Migratory Bird Festival’) – San Blas, Riviera Nayarit, State of Nayarit. An annual festival in San Blas since 2004 that coincides with the Día de San Blas (‘Feast Day of Saint Blas’) (3 Feb), the city’s patron saint. Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article.
• 31 Jan–4 Feb (varies): Festival Sayulita (‘Festival Sayulita’) – Sayulita, Riviera Nayarit, State of Nayarit. An annual festival since 2014 in the coastal bohemian town of Sayulita, for lovers of Mexico’s film, music, food, tequila and surfing. Link 2018 Programme.
February is one of the driest months of the year in Mexico, and temperatures are warming up.
It is the peak season for monarch butterfly – so it is an ideal time of year to visit Mexico’s monarch butterfly reserves in the Transvolcanic Belt (between Michoacán and State of Mexico) – UNESCO’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Also, the month is the prime season for whale watching in Baja California Sur’s three main wintering breeding grounds: Bahía Magdalena (‘Magdalena Bay’), Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio lagoons (the latter two part UNESCO’s Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve – the largest wildlife refuge in Latin America). Above all, it is also the month of carnival celebrations at various locations in Mexico.
• 2 Feb: Día de la Candelaria (‘Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple’ / ‘Feast of the Purification of the Virgin’ / ‘Candlemas Day’) – Observance/nationwide. A feast day commemorating the presentation of Child Jesus at the temple 40 days after his birth (the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary), marking the end of Christmas season in Mexico – i.e. the end of a 40-day Christmastide that corresponds to the 40 days of Lent. Celebrations with candlelit processions and the blessing of the Niño Dios (‘Baby Jesus’) figurines from nativity scenes taken to churches take place. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 2–4 Feb (varies): Festival de la Ballena Gris (‘Grey Whale Festival’) – Puerto Adolfo López Mateos, State of Baja California Sur. An annual festival at Puerto Adolfo López Mateos – also other places like Puerto San Carlos (19–21 Feb) – located in Bahía Magdalena (‘Magdalena Bay’) (Link ‘Gray Watching in Baja’). The festival includes various cultural events and ecotourism activities but its speciality are whale watching tours. For more, see the main article.
• 2–18 Feb (varies): Feria de la Alegría y el Olivo (‘Alegría and Olive Fair’) – Santiago Tulyehualco, Xochimilco, Mexico City. A secular festival held annually since 1970s in the village of Santiago Tulyehualco (Plaza Quirino Mendoza y Cortés), part of Xochimilco, a southern borough of Mexico City. The fair celebrates products made out of olives and of amaranth. It also hosts arts and cultural events. Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 5 Feb (*5 Feb 2018): Día de la Constitución (‘Constitution Day’) – National holiday. Commemoration of Mexico’s Constitution of 1917 that was put in place by Venustiano Carraza as one of the main products of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920). *Originally celebrated on 5 Feb, the Constitution Day is now, according to Article 74 of the Mexican federal labour law (Ley Federal del Trabajo), observed on the first Monday of February since 2006. It is celebrated with parades, festivals, and family gatherings. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 7–11 Feb (varies): Zona Maco: México Arte Contemporáneo (‘Zone Maco: Mexican Contemporary Art Fair’) – Mexico City. The biggest and best contemporary art fair in Mexico City, held at the Centro Banamex, Hall D. Link 2018 Programme.
• 8–13 Feb (varies Feb/Mar, a weekend before Lent): Carnaval (‘Carnival’) – A 5/6-day festive season in various locations in Mexico. It now typically involves a public celebration or parade combining elements of a circus, mask and public street party. Traditionally, the festive season marks the end of winter finishing on Martes de carnaval (‘Shrove Tuesday’) (*13 Feb 2018) before the period of 40 days of La Cuaresma (‘Lent’) before Easter begins on Miércoles de ceniza (‘Ash Wednesday’) (*14 Feb 2018). For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 13–17 Feb (varies): Expo ENART: Exposición Nacional de Articulos de Regalo y Decoración Artesanal Mexicana (‘Expo ENART: Mexican Handicrafts Fair’) – Tlaquepaque, State of Jalisco. A major trade show of decorative arts and crafts that takes place twice a year (mid-Feb and mid-Aug) in the Centro Cultural el Refugio in Tlaquepaque, a municipality on the outskirts of Guadalajara. More than 200 exhibitions are included from all states of Mexico, showing various media: wood, glass, papier-mâché, jewelry, ceramics, textile and fiber, and leather, as well as metalwork in iron, tin, and pewter. Although geared primarily to wholesale sales, individuals may also attend the exposition and buy items. Link 2018 Programme.
• 14 Feb (varies): Miércoles de ceniza (‘Ash Wednesday’) – Observance/nationwide. The beginning of La Cuaresma (‘Lent’).
• 14 Feb: Día del Amor y la Amistad or Día de San Valentin (‘Day of Love and Friendship’ / ‘Valentine’s Day’) – Observance/nationwide. In Mexico Valentine’s Day is more commonly known as the Day of Love and Friendship – it is not only for lovers as everyone takes part in exchanging cards, flowers, sweets and balloons. It is rather a time to show appreciation to those you care about, so no one is left out. A particular variety of pan dulce (‘sweet bread’) called besos (‘kisses’) are especially popular in Mexico for Valentine’s Day. For more, see the recipe and the main article (forthcoming).
• 16 Feb (varies): Año Nuevo chino (‘Chinese New Year) – Barrio Chino (‘Chinatown’), Mexico City. Chinese New Year celebrations are hosted by the Comunidad China de México in the Chinatown, located on Dolores Street in the historical centre near Bellas Artes metro. A parade of lion dances and a display of fireworks as well as other traditional events and food stalls. 2018 is the Year of the Dog that ends on 4 Feb 2019.
• 19 Feb: Día del Ejercito or Día de la Lealtad (‘Army Day’ / ‘Day of Loyalty’) – Civic holiday. Celebration of the foundation of the Mexican Army on 19 Feb 1913, following the Marcha de la Lealtad (‘Loyalty March’) on 9 Feb 1913, when 33rd President of Mexico, Francisco I. Madero (1873–1913) (in office: 6 Nov 1911–19 Feb 1913), was escorted from Chapultepec Castle to the National Palace by the cadets of the Military College.
• 23–25 Feb (varies): Festival Musica de San Pancho (‘San Pancho Music Festival’) – San Francisco, State of Nayarit. An annual 3-day music festival held in a small beach town of San Francisco on the Pacific coast. This year it celebrates its 15th anniversary – it was founded in 2001 as a small gathering of locals held in the backyard of a local resident, but by 2006 the lineup included 116 artists and has been growing since. The festival includes performances by local musicians, as well as those from the USA and Latin America. Link 2018 Programme.
• 24 Feb: Día de la Bandera (‘Flag Day’) – Civic holiday/observance. Commemoration of the first public Pledge of Allegiance to the Mexican flag made by the General Vicente Guerrero – one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence (16 Sep 1810–27 Sep 1821) against Spain – on 12 Mar 1821. It is celebrated since 1937 when the 44th President of Mexico, General Lázaro Cárdenas (1895–1970) (in office: 1 Dec 1934–30 Nov 1940) pledged his allegiance to the flag before the monument to the General Guerrero to symbolically reenact this historical event. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 26 Feb (varies, 2018 TBC): El Show de Perros de Los Barriles (‘Los Barriles Dog Show’) – Los Barriles, State of Baja California Sur. A dog’s show is held in Los Barilles, a small town in La Paz municipality, for the second year due to a huge success of the 2016 show. It takes place at the Hotel Palmas de Cortez (from 10.30 am) and is run by the Baja Kennel Club. Link 2017 Programme.
• 26 Feb–3 March (varies): Abeirto Mexicano de Tenis (‘Mexican Tennis Open’) – Acapulco, State of Guerrerro. The tournament – held in Acapulco a major beach resort on the Pacific coast – is the largest tennis event in Latin America and it attracts international tennis champions. Link 2018 Programme.
March is warming up all over the country, and sea resorts are again getting busy in the weeks around Easter just like at Christmas.
It is the month of spring celebrations – Equinoccio (‘Spring Equinox’) (20–21 Mar, *20 Mar 2018) – when many spring festivals are held, most famously at the archeological zone of Chichén Itzá (State of Yucatán), as well as those of Teotihuacan (State of Mexico) and El Tajín (State of Veracruz). Spring holidays either fall in the month of March or April depending on the time of Semana Santa or Semana de Pascua (‘Holy/Easter Week’) (*25–31 Mar 2018). Easter is calculated according to the date of the Spring Equinox – in Gregorian calendar, Easter falls on the 1st Sunday following the first paschal full moon after the Spring Equinox. If the first full moon occurs on the Equinox, Easter is on the following Sunday. Thus, Easter can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. The calculation of the date of Easter also determines the date of Carneval (‘Carnival’) (*8–13 Feb 2018) and La Cuaresma (‘Lent’) (*14 Feb–29 Mar 2018). The third Monday – Natalicio de Benito Juárez (‘Benito Juárez’s Birthday’) (21 Mar, *19 Mar 2018) – is a national holiday celebrating the birth of the most revered of all ex-Presidents of Mexico, Benito Juarez.
• 1–25 Mar (varies): Festival de México en el Centro Histórico (‘Mexico City Festival) – Mexico City (CDMX). An annual festival – one of Latin America’s most vibrant international arts festivals held in the capital city of Mexico since 1985 – featuring unique and innovative events including opera, concerts, theatre, art exhibits and dance productions. Profits from the festival go towards the rescue and restoration of the art and architecture of the historic centre of Mexico City. Link 2018 Programme.
• 3–10 Mar (varies): Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Zihuatanejo (‘ZIGF: Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival’) – Zihuatanejo, State of Guerrero. An annual festival held in Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast since 2004. It is designed to bring locals and tourists together to enjoy guitar music. Concerts are held at multiple locations every night (on the beach, in restaurants and bars), and there are also children’s shows, as well as a free public show at the main plaza. The Zihua Guitar Fest brings guitarists from all over the world. Profits from the festival go towards supporting arts and educational projects in the community. Link 2018 Programme.
• 4 Mar (varies): Noche de Brujas (‘Night of the Witches’) – Catemaco, State of Veracruz. An annual all-night festival held, on the first Friday (first weekend) of March, in a special honour to the world of witches and wizards on Cerro Mono Blanco, a hill just outside Catemaco. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 7–11 Mar (varies): FCTS-LP: Festival de Cine de Todos Santos–La Paz (‘Todos Santos–La Paz Film Festival’) – Todos Santos and La Paz, State of Baja California Sur. An annual film festival held in Todos Santos and La Paz since 2004. The festival offers a large collection of films and animation that reflects the excellence in local, national and Latin American filmmaking. There are more than 25 feature, documentary and short films – the 2017 edition addresses the issues related to the environment, immigration social justice, music, Mexican history and indigenism. The festival has a strong commitment to the social documentary genre, which enables the local community to learn about social movements around the world. One of the festival main objectives is its educational mission – the youth and video programme, founded by Leonardo Perel in 2006, with the purpose of motivating local children and teenagers in order to tell the stories and legends of their people, to show their customs and traditions, to record the memories of their ancestors, under the instruction of professional filmmakers. Link 2018 Programme.
• 9–11 Mar (varies): Festival de Aves de Vallarta (‘Vallarta Bird Festival’) – Puerto Vallarta, State of Jalisco. An annual festival held in Puerto Vallarta – a beach resort situated in Bahía de Banderas on the Pacific coast – since 2011 (cancelled in 2016). Originally organised by the Vallarta Bird Conservancy, the festival is now hosted by the Jardín Botánico Vallarta (‘Vallarta Botanical Garden’) in collaboration with the Centro Universitario de la Costa, or CUC (part of the University of Guadalajara). The Puerto Vallarta region is known to enjoy a vast diversity of birds: endemic, migratory and resident species. At least 30 endemic and up to 400 bird species can be appreciated at some of the many ecosystems surrounding the area: mangroves, coastal lagoons, wetlands, tropical forests, jungles, tropical deciduous forests, thorn forests, pine and oaks forests, and pine evergreen forests. The festival offers birding and nature walks with expert guides, as well as workshops and lectures on conservation from local and international authorities on birding related topics. Link 2018 Programme.
• 9–16 Mar (varies): FICG: Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara (‘Guadalajara International Film Festival’) – Guadalajara, State of Jaslico. The oldest and most important annual film festival in Mexico hosted in Guadalajara since 1968. It shows the best selection of Mexican and Latin American films of the year (feature movies, shorts, documentaries and children’s movies). There are also training programmes designed for young people, offering them the chance to share experience and knowledge with film-industry professionals. Link 2018 Programme.
• 15–18 Mar (varies): FICAM: Festival Internacional de Cine Álamos Mágico (‘Magic Álamos International Film Festival’) – Álamos, State of Sonora. An annual film festival held in Álamos. The primary objective of the festival is to share positive and educational stories about the world and giving emphasis on inspiring documentaries from Sonora and the border regions. Furthermore, it encourages and celebrates the inspirational work of independent filmmakers from all parts of Latin America. Link 2018 Programme.
• 16–20 Mar (varies): Cumbre Tajín: Festival de la Identidad (‘Cumbre Tajín: Identity Festival’) – Papantla, State of Veracruz. An annual artistic and cultural festival that takes place during the Spring Equinox since 2000. The festival provides a great opportunity to learn about the multiple identities of the local indigenous community – the Totonac people – as it is held to celebrate, promote and preserve their cultural heritage through a showcase of a series of events: ancient rituals; traditional music and dance; concerts, theatre and film; conferences and workshop; alternative therapies and healing; local gastronomy; children’s games; multiple artistic expressions (handcrafts); as well as a spectacular night-time show at El Tajín archeological site. Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 18 Mar: Anniversario de la Expropriacion Petrolera (‘Anniversary of Mexican Oil Expropriation’) – Civic holiday/observance. Commemoration of the event that took place on 18 March 1938, in which the 44th President of Mexico, General Lázaro Cárdenas (1895–1970) (in office: 1 Dec 1934– 30 Nov 1940), expropriated all mineral and oil reserves found within Mexico from foreign control – mainly the countries such as from USA, UK and the Netherlands – and declared the reserves being a vital strategic national asset through the creation of state-owned petroleum company called Pemex.
• 18–25 Mar (varies): Xochimilco Festival de la Flor mas Bella del Ejido (‘Xochimilco Festival of the Beautiful Flower of the Ejido or Field’) – Xochimilco, Mexico City (CDMX). A secular festival held annually and starting two weeks before Easter in Xochimilco, a southern borough of Mexico City. Xochimilco is famous for its natural beauty that gave the identity to the place – its canals, with artificial islands called chinampas (‘floating gardens’), left from what used to be a lake and canal system that connected to the Aztec settlements of the Valley of Mexico. The festival, in the current form of the pageant since 1936, is dedicated to the beauty of Mexican mestizo (‘mixed race’) women, but its roots are an amalgamation of pre-Hispanic rituals and Spanish Catholic traditions that evolved over centuries. Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 20–21 (*20 Mar 2018): Equinoccio de primavera (‘Spring Equinox’) – Chichén Itzá, State of Yucatán. An annual astronomical event celebrating the Maya civilisation, through their history and architecture, that takes place at the ancient sacred city of Chichén Itzá (c. AD 600–1200). The archeological site is the most popular spot in Mexico to celebrate the Spring Equinox (the other two sites are those at Teotihuacan and El Tajín). Twice a year, on the Spring (around 20–21 March) and Autumn (around 22–23 Sep) Equinoxes, thousands of people gather at the Temple of Kulkulkan (built between C9–C12) to watch the effect of Kulkulkan (‘Plumed’ or ‘Feathered Serpent’, a Maya snake deity similar to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl) projected on the north side of the terraced pyramid. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 20–24 Mar (varies): Regata Internacional Bahía de Banderas (‘Banderas Bay Regatta and Nautical Festival’) – Nuevo Vallarta, State of Nayarit. An annual event in Nuevo Vallarta in Bahía de Banderas on the Pacific coast. The regatta is the one of the biggest regattas for cruisers and racers in the world and is the largest and oldest on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Link 2018 Programme.
• 21 Mar (*19 Mar 2018): Natalicio de Benito Juárez (‘Benito Juárez’s Birthday’) – National holiday, but particularly celebrated in Oaxaca, State of Oaxaca. Commemoration of the birth of the most loved and revered ex-President of Mexico, Benito Juárez (21 March 1806–18 July 1872) – the ‘Mexico’s Abe Lincoln’ – who was not only the first President of Mexico but also the only indigenous President ever. His birthday is observed on the third Monday in March. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 23 Mar–25 May (varies): Ambulante Gira de Documentales (‘Ambulante Documentary Film Festival’) – 10 States: Mexico City (CDMX), Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Baja California, Jalisco, Michoacán, Puebla, Coahuila, Querétaro, Veracruz. An annual 2-month itinerant film festival founded in 2005 by Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz and Elena Fortes. The festival seeks to promote documentary film within several states of Mexico and to reach a broader audience by screening films in a wide array of venues. It starts in Mexico City (23 Mar–6 Apr) and finishes in Veracruz (18–25 May). Festival events include film screenings, workshops, talks, seminars, symposiums, and networking panels. Link 2018 Programme.
• 24 Mar–7 Apr (varies): Festival Cultural de Zacatecas (‘Zacatecas Cultural Festival’) – Zacatecas, State of Zacatecas. An annual festival in Zacatecas that aligns with the 2-week Semana Santa holiday since 1987. The festival celebrates art and culture and holds an incredible lineup of concerts and other cultural events (dance, painting, sculpture, photography, literature, theatre, cinema). It unites local and international artists of diverse music genres, ranging from classic, alternative, punk and metal, to jazz, tango and trova. It offers visitors more than 130 attractions. There are also many events for children. Admission to 90% events is free. Link 2018 programme.
• 25–31 Mar (varies Mar/Apr): Semana Santa or Semana de Pascua (‘Holy/Easter Week’) – Public (Bank) holiday on Jueves Santo (‘Maundy Thursday’) and Viernes Santo (‘Good Friday’). Semana Santa is Mexico’s favourite religious festival that marks the last week of La Cuaresma (‘Lent’) and the week before Pascua (‘Easter’). It is celebrated with solemn processions, passion plays and religious festivals, as well as other celebrations. Mexico’s Semana Santa traditions are mostly based on those from Spain brought over during the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519–1521), but observances have developed variations in different parts of the country due to the evangelisation process by the Catholic Church in the colonial period and various indigenous influences. Colourful celebrations particularly famously take place in San Miguel de Allende (State of Guanajuato), Taxco (State of Guererro), San Luis Potosí (State of San Luis Potosí), Ajijic (State of Jalisco) and Iztapalapa (Mexico City). Other communities with notable celebrations include Pátzcuaro (State of Michoacán), Tzintzuntzan, (State of Michoacán), Querétaro (State of Querétaro), Huajicori (State of Nayarit), Mesa de Nayar (State of Nayarit), Creel (State of Chihuahua), Cusarare (State of Chihuahua), San Ignacio Arareco (State of Chihuahua), Jerez (State of Zacatecas), Atlixco (State of Puebla), Temascalcingo (State of Mexico), San Juan Chamula (State of Chiapas), and Zinacantán (State of Chiapas). While festivities take place all over the country during the week leading up to Easter, many people have the following week off as well. This is particularly the case for families with school children, as schools in Mexico usually close for a two-week period, so the period has become a very important holiday period. Because this is the hottest time of the year throughout most of Mexico, many Mexicans head to the beach. The most important holiday spots at this time are beach resorts, such as Acapulco (State of Guererro), Cancún (State of Quintana Roo), Puerto Vallarta (State of Jalisco), Veracruz (State of Veracruz), Mazatlan (State of Sinaloa), Los Cabos (State of Baja California Sur) and Huatulco (State of Oaxaca). For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 29 Mar–1 Apr (varies): Festival de la Cartonería (‘Papier-mâché Festival’) – Santa María la Ribera, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City (CDMX). A traditional handcraft festival celebrating the making of cartonería – papier-mâché sculptures –, its diverse styles and techniques, and is organised by the collective of Cartoneros de la Ciudad de México. More than 70 makers from Mexico City, as well as from other States of Mexico, show their work. During the festival various activities, such as traditional music and dance as well as mask parade, conferences and workshops, take place. As the festival coincides with the Easter weekend, the highlight of the festival is the traditional Burning of Judas that takes place on Easter Saturday, where also politicians and popular characters are represented. Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
April is hot and dry throughout most of Mexico. It is perfect weather for beach holidays. But sea resorts get very busy in the weeks around Easter – in 2017 Easter is in the middle of April –, as millions of Mexican families head to the beach resorts, as well as to many tourist attractions, throughout the country during spring holidays.
Spring holidays either fall in the month of March or April depending on the time of Semana Santa or Semana de Pascua (‘Holy/Easter Week’) (*25–31 Mar 2018). Easter is calculated according to the date of the Spring Equinox – in Gregorian calendar, Easter falls on the 1st Sunday following the first paschal full moon after the Spring Equinox. If the first full moon occurs on the Equinox, Easter is on the following Sunday. Thus, Easter can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. The calculation of the date of Easter also determines the date of Carneval (‘Carnival’) (*8–13 Feb 2018) and La Cuaresma (‘Lent’) (*14 Feb–29 Mar 2018).
• 1 Apr (varies): Horario de verano (‘Summer Schedule or Day Saving Time’) – Mexico’s Daylight Saving Time has been observed since 1996 throughout most of the country. Unlike in the USA and Canada, as well as Europe, in Mexico, it begins on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October. Clocks are set forward one hour at 2 am in April, while back one hour at 2 am in October (*28 Oct 2018).
• 4–8 Apr (varies): Legendaria Semana de la Moto (‘International Motorcycle Week Mazátlan’) – Mazatlán, State of Sinaloa. The largest annual Latino-American motorcycle rally that takes in Mazatlan since 1996. An event brings together over 20,000 motorcyclists that come by bike from all corners of the Americas. The main event is the Great Parade – a colourful procession of international motorcycle clubs cruising 16 miles along the city’s promenade of the Pacific Ocean. Also, there are other sports events, such as an extreme acrobatics competition, as well as concerts and performances by national rock bands. Link 2018 Programme.
• 14 Apr–6 May (varies): Fería Nacional de San Marcos (‘San Marcos Fair’) – Aguascalientes, State of Aguascalientes. An annual 3-week Mexico’s largest national fair in Aquascalientes. The exact date of the fair varies – it is, however, set around April 25, when the traditional Spring Parade takes place on the Día de San Marcos. Originally, the fair – first held in 1828 – was associated with the vendimia (‘grape harvesting’) since wine production used to be an important activity in the area, but nowadays it is an important tourist attraction heavily associated with celebrations of bullfighting, cockfighting and charreadas (similar to rodeo). Since 1924 the beauty pageant has become a major part of the fair and the winner is crowned La Reina (‘Queen of the Fair’) [Rules 2016]. The award ceremony of the National Award for Youth Art occurs at the same time. There are also other cultural events (art exhibitions, folk dance, music (mariachi, tamboras), theatre, and so on. Link 2018 Programme.
• 15–18 Apr (varies): Tianguis Turístico México (‘Tianguis Travel Show’) – Mazatlán, State of Sinaloa. Mexico’s largest annual trade show, each year held in a different location (in 2018 in Mazatlán). It brings together travel industry representatives and journalists from Mexico and buyers around the world. The travel show is focused on encouraging the promotion and marketing of all the wonderful destinations in Mexico. Link 2018 Programme.
• 21 Apr: Heroica Defensa de Veracruz (‘Heroic Defense of Veracruz’) – Civic holiday/observance. Commemoration of the defence against the USA’s occupation of Veracruz in 1914 by cadets, staff and faculty of the Heroica Escuela Naval Militar and personnel of the Mexican Navy.
• 28 April–1 May: Feria Nacional del Burro (‘National Donkey Fair’) – Otumba (or Otumba de Gómez Farías), State of Mexico. An annual festival celebrating donkeys since 1965 is one of the most established and traditional fairs in central Mexico. The objective of the festival is to recognise the work this animal has done for the benefit of people. One of the main features of the festival is the costume contest, where the donkeys are dressed in various fashionable and famous characters from the world of politics and art. The theme of Donald Trump has recently appeared at the centre of the festival! Also, there are other events, such as polo played on donkeys, a donkey race around the main plaza, and a parade with floats. In addition, there are other sports and cultural events, such as local food, crafts and folk dance. Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 30 Apr: Día del del Niño (‘Children’s Day’) – Nationwide/observance. An annual celebration since 1925, honouring all children, paying homage to their importance in society, and endorsing their well being. Children look forward to this day as the day is celebrated with activities, special events and festivities all centered around them. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
Mid-May or June is the end of las sequiqas (‘dry season’) in Mexico, which is the hottest time of the year. May can be especially warm in the dry central highlands, southern Mexico and Yucatán, while on the other hand, it can be perfect for the beaches on the Pacific Coast from Manzanillo to Mazatlán and in Baja.
May is one of the busiest months of the year in terms of festivals and events across the country.
• 1 May: Día de Trabajo (‘Labour Day’) – National holiday. Commemoration of the Mexican workers’ union movements and, especially, two historical events – the labour unrest and repression of 1906 (the copper miners’ strike at Cananea, State of Sonara) and that of 1907 (the textile workers’ strike at Río Blanco, State of Veracruz) – during the dictatorship of Pofirio Díaz (1830–1915), the 29th President of Mexico (in office: 28 Nov 1876–6 Dec 1876; 17 Feb 1877–1 Dec 1880; 1 Dec 1884–25 May 1911), that prefigured the Mexican Revolution of 1910. There are political and labour union marches and official speeches. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 3 May: Día de la Santa Cruz / Fiesta de las Cruces / Cruz de Mayo / Día del Albañil (‘Day of the Holy Cross’ / ‘Festival of the Crosses’ / ‘May Cross’ / ‘Bricklayers’ Day’) – Observance/nationwide. A feast day traditionally commemorating the Search and Finding of the Holy Cross, also known as the True Cross, in 326 by Saint Helena (c. 250–c. 330), the Empress of Roman Empire and the mother of the future Emperor Constantine the Great (c. 272–337, reigned 306–337), following a dream in which her son saw a cross in the sky – In Hoc Signo Vinces (‘with this sign you shall win’) – that helped him win the battle against the Roman Emperor Maxentius (c. 278–312, reigned 306–312) on the River Tiber (Battle of the Milvian Bridge on 28 Oct 312) and made him later to convert to Christianity (Edict of Milan of 313). In Mexico, the celebration of the Holy Cross dates back to early days of colonization – with the arrival of the Spaniards, many pre–Hispanic rituals were amalgamated with the Catholic traditions. The present form of celebration is also associated with the growth of population in the cities in the 20th century as the workforce was consequently high in demand in construction industry, which attracted many poor farmers leaving the fields to work as masons. Among the traditions that these workers brought from the countryside to the city, was the veneration of the Holy Cross, to which they were entrusted to be protected from accidents and other eventualities in their work. Construction workers decorate crosses with flowers, which they mount on buildings under construction. This is followed by picnics at the site and fireworks. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 4–25 May (varies) – FCM: Festival Cultural de Mayo (‘May Cultural Festival) – Guadalajara, State of Jalisco. An annual international cultural festival that includes concerts, exhibits, film screenings, dance performances and gastronomic tastings. Link 2018 Programme.
• 5 May: Día de la Batalla de Puebla, or more commonly known as Cinco de Mayo (‘Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla’ / ‘5th of May’) – Civic Holiday/observance. Although a minor holiday nationwide, it is officially a public holiday only in Puebla (State of Puebla). The day commemorates the victory of Mexican forces, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829–1862), over the French army in the Battle of Puebla on 5 May 1862. The French reoccupied the city a year later and soon after installed Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico (1832–1867) (in office: 11 Jul 1863–19 Jun 1867) on 10 April 1864. Although Mexicans feel very proud of the meaning of the Cinco de Mayo, the date is far more widely celebrated in the States than in Mexico itself – possibly due to beer and liquor companies aligning themselves with the date as part of their US marketing since 1980s. For many years the Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the USA erroneously promoted the Mexican historical event as Mexican Independence Day, which is actually on 16 Sep. Celebrations in Puebla recreate the battle. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 5 May & 29 Sep (varies) – Rosarito-Ensenada (‘Rosarito-Ensenada Fun Bike Ride’) – Rosarito to Ensenada, State of Baja California. A twice-a-year cycling event on a 50-mile long route along the Pacific Coast and inland through rural countryside from Rosarito Beach to Ensenada. A fiesta from noon to sunset at Plaza Ventana al Mar on the waterfront. Link 2018 Programme.
• 5–20 May (varies): Festival International 5 de Mayo Puebla (‘International Festival 5 May’) – Puebla, State of Puebla. An annual event to promote Puebla’s artistic, architectural and socio-cultural heritage and to commemorate the Battle of Puebla of 5 May 1862. This international festival has on offer a variety of cultural activities, such as concerts, gastronomy, theatre, conferences and so on. Link 2018 Programme.
• 7 & 21 May (varies): Peregrinación a la Virgen de Ocotlán (‘Pilgrimage to the Virgin of Ocotlán’) – Ocotlán, a small town in the municipality of Tlaxcala, State of Jalisco. One of the most important pilgrimage sites in Mexico, devotion to the Virgin of Ocotlán – the patron saint of Tlaxcala and Puebla – is concentrated around the various processions to her shrine that take place on three fixed dates: New Year’s Day and 1st and 3rd Monday in May. The Monday processions are referred to as the bajada (‘descent’) and the subida (‘ascent’) respectively [Wikipedia]. Just ten years after Juan Diego (1474–1548) was given the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary was reported to happen upon a well at the bottom of the then village of Ocotlán to an Aztec peasant, Juan Diego Bernardino (c. 1456–15 May 1544), on 27 Feb 1541. This was during a time of great trials and tribulations for the natives of Tlaxcala and surrounding area. War, political unrest and the numerous plagues, including smallpox, brought from Europe by the Spanish conquerors decimated the population [The Catholic Travel Guide]. Villagers, who drank from the well, were said to have been cured of their infectious diseases and sicknesses. Since then, the water is said to have miraculous healing powers and pilgrims continue to descend to the bottom of the town to get water until this day. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 8 May: Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo (‘Miguel Hidalgo’s Birthday) – Civic holiday. Commemoration of the birth of Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla (1753–1811) – a Mexican Catholic priest, who initiated call to rebellion to end the Spanish rule on the Eve of 15 Sep – the Grito de Dolores – that led to the Mexican War of Independence (16 Sep 1810–27 Sep 1821). Although he and his conspirators were captured and executed by the Spanish, his movement gave inspiration and created a political vacuum that eventually led to Mexico’s independence from Spain and is, together with Ignacio Allende (1769–1811) and José María Morelos y Pavón (1765–1815), a most revered personality in Mexico’s independence history. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 10 May: Día de la Madre (‘Mother’s Day’) – Nationwide/observance. Honouring all mothers as the day is taken extremely seriously in Mexico: the country has a strong matriarchal culture, so all mothers are celebrated in style! The day may start off with serenades of Las Mañanitas, schools have festivals in honour of the students’ mothers and restaurants are packed as mothers take the day off from household tasks and are treated to a meal out with their families in grand style. Las Mañanitas is traditionally a Mexican song sung on birthdays – the most famous version is from the film Nosotros los pobres, sung by Pedro Infante to Chachita (‘the young girl’), played by Evita Muñoz.
• 10 May (varies): Día de la Ascensión (‘Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ‘, also known as ‘Holy Thursday’ / ‘Ascension Day’ / ‘Ascension Thursday’) – Nationwide/observance. A feast day commemorating the Christian belief that Jesus Christ physically ascended to heaven on a Thursday, the 40th day after Domingo de Pascua (‘Easter Sunday’). It is one of the earliest Christian festivals dating back to the year 68. According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ met several times with his disciples during the 40 days after his resurrection on Domingo de Pascua to instruct them on how to carry out his teachings. It is believed that on the 40th day he took them to the Mount of Olives, where they watched him as he ascended to heaven. It is one of the ecumenical feasts of Christian churches, ranking the feasts of Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost. In Mexico special masses are heled in a number of churches.
• 15 May: Día del Maestro (‘Teacher’s Day’) – Nationwide/observance. Honouring all teachers. Classes are normally suspended for a day – so teachers get a day off, or there will be a party and students would give them gifts as a sign of their appreciation.
• 15 May–10 Jun: Restaurant Week (‘Restaurant Week’) – Puerto Vallarta, State of Jalisco. Following the trend of other influential fine dining destinations around the world, this annual festival since 2005 features many of Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit’s best restaurants. During that period, participating restaurants offer 3-course menus (with 3 options per each course) discounted by up to 50%. Link 2018 Programme.
• 18–20 May (varies): Morelia en Boca: El Festival Internacional de Gastronomía y Vino de Mexico (‘Morelia en Boca Gastronomy Festival’) – Morelia, State of Michoacan. An annual food and wine festival that focuses on three aspects of gastronomy: the traditional cuisine from Michoacan, Mexican wine, and avant-garde cuisine. Link 2018 Programme.
• 20 May (varies): Domingo de Pentecostés (‘Whit Sunday’) – Nationwide/observance.
• 20–21 May: Travesia Sagrada Maya (‘Sacred Mayan Journey’) – Island of Cozumel, State of Yucatán. An annual event re-enacting the sacred pilgrimage of the ancient Maya worshiping the cult of Ix Chel, the Goddess of midwifery, on the island. In the early 16th century, Maya women, seeking to ensure a fruitful marriage, would travel to the sanctuary of the goddess on the island – there, a priest hidden in a large statue would give oracles. The return voyage (a detailed description on Visit Mexico) is done in traditionally hand-made Mayan canoes starting in Polé (today Xcaret), towards the island of Cozumel, and from there, back to Xcaret. The Sacred Mayan Journey involves approximately 50 kms in total for a return journey, representing 6 to 7 hours of free paddling each way in the Cozumel Channel – a 420 m deep Channel with a current of 2–4 knots from south to north, adding to the crossing a level of risk and a great physical effort for the rowers. The project of the Sacred Mayan Journey was founded in 2007 with the purpose of recovering one of the most significant traditions of the ancient Mayan people of the region – the ritual journey is, therefore, intended to revive interest in the Mayan culture and strengthen the cultural identity of people of the area. Link 2018 Programme.
• 20–27 May (varies): Vallarta Pride (‘Vallarta Pride’) – Puerto Vallarta, State of Jalisco. An annual 2-week festival that celebrates LGBT culture, with music, beach parties, fashion shows, and other activities. Link 2018 Programme.
• 23 May: Día del Estudiante (‘Students’ Day’) – Nationwide/observance. A celebration of the student movement of 1929, which obtained the autonomy of the national university in Mexico City, later on to become known as the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). On that day a group of law students, demonstrating for academic freedom and university autonomy, were attacked by the police within the facilities of the Law School. Today the event is honouring all students and is commemorated as a reminder of the need for a more open and participatory education and of those who have struggled to achieve and maintain it.
• 26–27 May (varies): Festival de la Paella (‘Paella Festival’) – Ezequiel Montes, State of Querétaro. An annual festival held by the Cavas Freixenet celebrating a very popular rice-based dish from Spain. Link 2018 Programme.
• 26–27 May (varies): Rosarito Art Fest (‘Rosarito Art Festival’) – Rosarito, State of Baja California. An annual art festival featuring over 100 artists, both from Mexico and abroad. There are also musical and gastronomical presentations. Link 2018 Programme.
• 26 May–3 Jun (varies): Feria de Corpus Christi (‘Corpus Christi Fair’) – Papantla, State of Veracruz. A traditional annual festival especially celebrated in Papantla. The date of the festival is traditionally centred on the the Feast of Corpus Christi (*in 2018 the feast falls on 31 May), the feast of which is observed nationwide. However, the origins of the festival are traced back to the pre-Hispanic times – and specifically to the change of seasons in accordance with the Mesoamerican 365-day solar calendar that defined the agricultural cycle (growing seasons) and festival celebrations – as the Totonac people performed a series of ceremonial rituals alluding to fertility of crops and worshiping their gods particularly associated with water. With the arrival of Spanish missionaries, indigenous rituals were amalgamated into the Feast of Corus Christi – in Papantla the first feast, sponsored by the encomendero of the area, Placido Perez, was celebrated between 1550 and 1560. Until very recently, the celebration was strictly religious in nature emphasised on processions and liturgy. However, in 1957, a more secular event – the Festival of Corpus Christi with a livestock, agriculture, industrial and cultural fair – was added to run concurrently with the religious rites. Also, in 1958, two principal events – Los Juegos Florales (‘Floral Games‘ are historically associated with a series of poetry related contests with floral prizes) and the Festival Xanath (‘Vanilla Festival’) (xanath in the Totonac language means ‘vanilla’) – began to uniquely distinguish the festival from others in the area. The Xanath Festival was founded in order to present Totonac culture to the city and the world, making the residents proud of their indigenous heritage. The festival is a celebration of vanilla, as well as a showcase of indigenous art exhibits and traditional dances (danzas), costumes and music. The most famous dance is Danza de los Voladores. Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 29 May–12 Jun (varies): Guanajuato Sí Sabe (‘Guanajuato Sí Sabe Gastronomy Festival’) – Guanajuato, State of Guanajuato. An annual culinary festival dedicated to the national and international gastronomy. A week of seminars, food presentations and tastings. Link 2018 Programme.
• 30 May–3 June (varies): Score Baja 500 Off-road Race – Ensenada, State of Baja California. An annual international off-road race since 1969 through desert starting and finishing in Ensenada making a loop of approximately 420 miles with 4 checkpoints. Link 2018 Programme.
• 31 May (varies) – Día de Corpus Christi (‘Feast Day of Corpus Christi’) – Nationwide/observance.
It can still be quite hot in Mexico in June. It is the beginning of rainy season throughout most of the country. It is also the start of hurricane season. This should not discourage you travelling to Mexico since it only rains at short intervals at lunchtime or in the late afternoon. Also, there are less crowds and accommodation is easier to find.
June is one of the busiest months of the year in terms of festivals and events across the country. If you would like to work with sea turtles, this is the month to come.
• 1 June: Dia de la Marina (‘Mexico’s Navy Day’) – Civic holiday. Celebration of both the Mexican Navy and civic maritime sectors throughout Mexican ports with military and civic parades, fishing tournaments and sailing competitions. Especially colourful events are in the northern Pacific ports of Topolobampo (State of Sinaloa) and Guaymas (State of Sonora), as well as the Caribbean resort of Playa del Carmen (State of Yucatán). Fireworks are used to commemorate historical battles at sea.
• 11–17 June (varies): Los Cabos Open of Surf – Zippers Beach, Costa Azul, San José del Cabo, State of Baja California Sur. The largest professional surf and music event in the history of Latin America held since 2013 along Costa Azul’s Zippers Beach Break. Zippers Beach is the world-famous surf spot with a shore break producing up to 8–10 ft big waves. In addition to the beach concerts, there are other events such as a food fair with local cuisine, fashion shows featuring some of the top surf brands, art walks and other eco-friendly activities. Link 2018 Programme.
• 16–29 June (varies): Fiestas de Junio / Feria de San Pedro Tlaquepaque (‘June Festivals’ / ‘Tlaquepaque Fair’) – Tlaquepaque, State of Jalisco. An annual celebration of traditions and pastimes of the artistic city of San Pedro Tlaquepaque on the outskirts of Guadalajara. The festival, held in honour of the city’s patron saint San Pedro (‘Saint Peter’), is more than 100 years old. The place is renown for its mariachi bands. It has become an up-market boutique art and crafts centre with trendy shops specialising in art and handcraft from all over Mexico, with a particular emphasis on ceramics, bronze sculpture, wooden furniture, papier-mâché, blown glass and embroidered cloth. Children can enjoy a variety of games, rides and other fun activities including a mini farm interacting with animals inside the Livestock Expo, while adults enjoy art and mariachi, while tasting some authentic Mexican cuisine. There are activities like rodeo, dances, cockfighting, concerts and theatre. Also, the fair crowns the queen. Link 2018 Programme.
• 17 June (varies) – Día de los Locos / Desfile de los Locos (‘Day of the Crazy People’ / ‘Parade of the Fools’) – San Miguel de Allende, State of Guanajuato. An annual secular event – a parade of people in crazy costumes – is unique to San Miguel de Allende. It is held every year on the Sunday closest to the Día de San Antonio Padua (‘Feast Day of Saint Anthony of Padua) (1195–1231), the city’s patron saint, on 13 June. Participants in the parade from different neighbourhoods, businesses and families show off their colourfully inventive and elaborate satirical masks and costumes to the spectators that range from animals and cartoon characters to national and international political figures and celebrities as well as cross-dressing people (‘transvestites’ are traditional at the festival). The masks and costumes are made from a surprising variety of methods and materials – from old cloths, cardboard boxes, papier-mâché, wire, masking tape, and so on. However, the event has its roots in the religious tradition – it is officially named Fiesta de San Antonio del Padua (‘Saint Anthony Festival’) – as the day starts with the traditional las mañanitas, a serenade sung to the city’s patron saint, followed by a morning mass at the Iglesia de San Antonio and a procession that has evolved into a parade. The parade starts at 11 am from the Iglesia and continues through the main streets of San Miguel until reaching the centre (Allende Garden). There, hundreds of spectators await the arrival of the parade to cheer and celebrate the most original costumes of the locos, who, in turn, have to pay public acceptance throwing all sorts of sweets and gifts. Link 2018 Programme.
• 17 June (varies): Día del Padre (‘Father’s Day’) – Nationwide/observance. Honouring all fathers is celebrated in Mexico on the 3rd Sunday in June. Children buy gifts for their father and some families take their fathers out to lunch. For those more active, there is an annual Father’s Day 21 km race – Corredores del Bosque de Tlalpan – that takes place in the Bosque de Tlalpan in Mexico City. Link 2018 Programme.
• 21 June: Solsticio de verano (‘Summer Solstice’) – Season.
• 23 June: Marcha del Orgullo (‘Gay Pride March’) – Mexico City. An annual event celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and transvestite lifestyles. The parade The march begins at noon at the Angel de la Independencia on the Paseo de la Reforma and takes its route all the way to the main square of Mexico City, the Zocolo. Link 2018 Programme.
• 24 June: Fiesta de San Juan Bautista (‘Feast of Saint John the Baptist’) – Nationwide/observance. A ‘high-ranking’ feast day commemorating the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist – according to The Gospel of Luke, the Saint was born about 6 months before the birth of Jesus (i.e. 6 months before Christmas). The eve (23 June) of the Feast Day is considered the eve of celebration (Noche de San Juan) that coincides, roughly, with the June Solistice [Solsticio de verano (‘Summer Solstice’) in the Northern and Solsticio de invierno (‘Winter Solistice’) in the Southern Hemisphere]. The feast day is celebrated with popular fairs and religious festivities, such as processions carrying the image of the saint adorned with flowers and accompanied by mariachi bands, traditional dances, and fireworks throughout Mexico. It is, however, especially venerated in towns and cities under the patronage of the Saint that last for several days – such as Cuncunul (State of Yucatán), Tepanco de López (State of Puebla), San Juan Chamula (State of Chiapas), San Jaun Dehedó (State of Querétaro) and San Juan del Río (State of Querétaro). Also, since John the Baptist is especially associated with water, in some places in Mexico this occasion is popularly celebrated with splashing people with buckets of water or water balloons. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 29 June: Día de San Pedro y San Pablo (‘SS Peter and Paul’s Day’) – Nationwide/observance. A feast day celebrated nationwide and especially in places wherever Saints Peter and Paul are the patron saints. It also honours anyone named Pedro. San Pedro is especially celebrated at San Pedro Tlaquepaque, near Guadalajara (State of Jalisco), as part of Fiestas de Junio (see above), with mariachi bands, folk dancers, and parades with floats, and in other indigenous communities, such as San Juan Chamula (State of Chiapas), Purepero (State of Michoacan), and Zaachila (State of Oaxaca).
July is the wettest month of the year through central and southern Mexico. This should not discourage you travelling to Mexico since it only rains at short intervals at lunchtime or in the late afternoon. This is school holiday time – so places of historical interests and beaches can be crowded.
July is one of the busiest months of the year in terms of festivals and cultural events across the country since it is a school holiday season. One of Mexico’s most popular events – Guelaguetza / Lunes del Cerro (‘Guelaguetza Festival’ / ‘Mondays on the Hill’) (*23–30 July 2018) – takes place in Oaxaca City in the State of Oaxaca. One of the most important film festivals in Latin America – Festival Internacional de Cine Guanajuato (‘Guanajuato International Film Festival’) (*20–29 July 2018) – takes place in two cities, San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, in the State of Guanajuato. A family friendly festival – Whale Shark Festival (*20–22 July 2018) – is held on the island of Isla Mujeres in the Caribbean Sea off the Yucatán Coast.
• 12–22 July (varies): Las Jornadas Villistas – Hidalgo del Parral, State of Chihuahua. An annual week of festivities commemorating the Mexican revolutionary icon Francisco Pancho Villa (1878–1923), one of the most prominent figures of the Mexican Revolution (20 Nov 1910–21 May 1920). There are many events, such as music, dance, art exhibitions, lectures, theatre, and so on. The highlight of the festivities is the staging of the murder of Pancho Villa, a popular tradition that exalts the patriotic values of the Mexican Revolution. It is represented by local artists since 1991 at the same place where the murder happened on 20 July 1923. The culmination of the show is the Cabalgata Villista, a horseback riding parade that takes participants from Chihuahua to Hidalgo del Parral, covering 136 miles (circa 220 kms). Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 13 Jul–5 Aug (varies) – Feria Nacional Durango (‘Durango National Fair’) – Victoria de Durango, State of Durango. An annual national fair held since 1929 in the city of Victoria de Durango. Once the province of New Spain (Mefollowing the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire (Feb 1519–13 Aug 1521) – was established in the rest of the country, new explorers ventured out to conquer Northern Mexico from 1554 onwards, establishing the Spanish province of Nueva Vizcaya (now States of Durango, Chihuahua, Sonora and Sinaloa). The fair, therefore, commemorates the foundation of the city on 8 July 1563 by the Spanish Basque explorer Francisco de Ibarra (1539?–1575), the explorer and the first governor of the Nueva Vizcaya. The fair consists of a number of colourful events – originally the fair was agricultural and ranching in nature emphasised on a cattle fair with equestrian events and charreadas, but over the years it evolved into a festival with an extensive cultural programme serving different age groups including children (theatre, film, dance, storytelling, exhibitions, concerts, dance, jazz and music for children). Link Programme 2018.
• 14–22 July (varies): Feria del Dulce Cristalizado (‘Crystallized Candy Fair’) – Santa Cruz Acalpixca, Xochimilco, Mexico City. An annual fair dedicated to a traditional sweet of various fruits and sometimes plants, which are conserved in a sugar solution (brown and white sugar, or honey) and heated until they crystallize. These include squash, pineapple, nopal cactus, tomatoes, chili peppers, figs, and more. These traditional sweets are often sold alongside others, such as coconut confections, palanquetas de cacahuate (similar to peanut brittle), and nuez con leche (a nut-milk confection). These candies are the result of blending the pre-Hispanic and European sweet traditions. The main European contributions are sugar and milk products, which are often mixed with native or other introduced ingredients. Originally, fruits and other foods were crystallized this way for conservation. Many in the community of Santa Cruz Acalpixca specialize in the making of one or more of these sweets, which began in 1927 with two shops belonging to Santiago Ramírez Olvera and Aurelio Mendoza in the Tepetitla neighbourhood. In the 1980s, the town decided to hold an annual fair to promote their products, which originally was held in conjunction with the festival to the local patron saint. The event includes prizes for the best confections in several categories and the introduction of new types of candies. Link 2018 Programme.
• 16 July: Día de Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo / Virgen del Carmen / Nuestra Señora del Carmen (‘Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) – Nationwide. A popular Marian feast day commemorating one of the Marian apparitions – Our Lady of Mount Carmel – the title of which is given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her rôle as a patroness of the Carmelite Order, founded on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land in the late 12 century. The monastic foundation is believed to have been dedicated to the Virgin in her aspect of Our Lady, Star of the Sea (Lat. ‘Stella Maris’, Spa. ‘Estrella del Mar’) – a Biblical reference to Mary from I Kings 18:41–45. According to Carmelite tradition, the cloud – that descended over the sea that would bring much needed rain after Elijah’s sacrifice on Mount Carmel was consumed – is said to be the Star of Mary: a sign of hope and a guiding star for Christians. By the end of the Middle Ages, the Carmelites were one of the largest and most influential mendicant brotherhoods in Europe. Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centred on the Scapular of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel, known as the Brown Scapular. In Mexico, the feast day of the Virgen del Carmen is observed in a number of places entrusted under her protection and celebrated especially with a fair in a number of locations. Also, devotion to the Virgen represents, by enlarge, a fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions and Catholic beliefs. Like in Spain, from where the cult was introduced into Mexico, she is historically especially venerated in costal towns and cities under the title of Estrella del Mar, where colourful land and marine processions are organised by carrying her images, as, for instance, in Ciudad del Carmen (16–31 July, State of Campeche) and Playa del Carmen (8–16 July, State of Quintana Roo, Yucatán). Like in Spain, devotion to the Virgen del Carmen in the interior parts of Mexico is not related to her aspect of Estrella del Mar, but instead its emphasis is put on the ancient tradition of the brown scapular, as, for instance, in Celaya (7–31 July, State of Guanajuato), Catemaco (14–16 July, State of Veracruz) and Oaxaca (6–16 July, State of Oaxaca). For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 20–22 July (varies): Whale Shark Festival – Isla Mujeres, State of Quintana Roo, Yucatán. An annual festival at Isla Mujeres, an island in the Caribbean Sea off the Yucatán Coast. This family-friendly festival is a showcase of traditional local dances and cuisine, while participants can enjoy a number of water activities at one of Mexico’s favourite holiday destinations: sport fishing, diving and snorkelling tours to the coral reef – part of the Great Mayan Reef (the largest reef in the northern hemisphere and the second largest in the world) – and swimming with whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest fish in the world. Each year from May to Sep the waters north of Cancun witness a wonderful marine phenomenon – the arrival of the whale sharks to spend their summer breeding grounds in the warm, plankton-rich waters off Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox (another spot in Mexico is Bahía de los Angels in Baja California on the Pacific Coast). In 2011, more than 400 whale sharks gathered off the Yucatan Coast, which is, according to a scientific research, one of the largest gatherings of whale sharks recorded. As the festival is an effort to raise awareness of the need to preserve the area’s marine ecosystem, one can also attend environmental education workshops and conferences on marine biology. There are also children’s activities, such as sand sculpting events and crafting fun. For sustainable tours to Isla Mujeres by Ceviche Tours and to Holbox by Willy’s Tours. Link 2018 Programme.
• 20–29 July (varies): Festival Internacional de Cine Guanajuato (‘Guanajuato International Film Festival’) – San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, State of Guanajuato. An annual state-sponsored and non-profit film festival – originally called Expresión en Corto – is the biggest film festival in Mexico running since 1997 and one of the most important in Latin America. It focuses on short films (fiction, experimental, animation, documentary), feature length documentary and feature film fiction. Each year the festival also honours a different country presenting a showcase of the best of country’s past and present film achievements. More than 400 films are screened each day in various venues. All shows and activities are free. Link 2018 Programme.
• 20 July–5 Aug (varies): Feria Chiautempan (‘Chiautempan Fair’) – Santa Ana Chiautempan, State of Tlaxcala. Originally called Feria Nacional de Sarape, this annual fair highlights Mexico’s renowned rectangular sarape shawls, on the the country’s traditional textile handicrafts. The fair takes place as part of festivities made in honour of Santa Ana. Link 2018 Programme.
• 21–30 July (varies): Feria del Mezcal (‘Mezcal Fair’) – Oaxaca City, State of Oaxaca. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 23–30 July (varies): Guelaguetza / Lunes del Cerro (‘Guelaguetza Festival’ / ‘Mondays on the Hill’) – Oaxaca City, State of Oaxaca. An annual traditional festival of indigenous dance and music, one of Mexico’s most popular events, that takes place as part of Las Fiestas de Julio in Oaxaca. The central spectacles of all the activities of the festival are hold on the last two Mondays of July after the feast of La Virgen del Carmen (16 July), except when one of these falls on 18 July – the anniversary of the death of Benito Juarez (21 March 1806–18 July 1872), the 26th President of Mexico (15 Jan 1858–18 Jul 1872) and the first indigenous president and native of the State of Oaxaca –, in which case the festival takes place on the following two Mondays (*in 2018 Mondays fall on 23 and 30 July). The festival dates back to the pre-Hispanic times when local indigenous people offered festival to the corn god, Pitao Cozobi, in hopes of a bountiful harvest – the word guelaguetza means ‘offering’ in the Zapotec language – and was later on, after the Spanish conquest, adapted to and mixed with Christian tradition of celebrating the feast of La Virgen del Carmen. The festival is celebrated by various members from different indigenous groups from seven regions of the State of Oaxaca – La Costa, La Cañada, La Mixteca, La Sierra, El Alto Papaloapan, El Istmo and Los Valles Centrales – who represent their traditional dance and music while wearing colourful costumes. It is believed that the Guelaguetza is a symbol for no distinction of social classes, and as such the festival is pride and celebration for all the people of Oaxaca. At the end of the dancing they throw items of food to the crowd, products that come from their region they represent. There are many other activities including Feria del Mezcal (‘Mezcal Fair’) (21–30 July). Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 26 Jul–19 Aug (varies): Fiestas de la Vendimia (‘Grape Harvest Festival’) – Ensenada, State of Baja California. An annual celebration of the grape harvest in the Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe is a series of elite parties and events that feature the incredible wine and food from the region. The festival includes visits to wineries, wine tasting, fine dinning and concerts. Link 2018 Programme.
• 27 Jul–5 Aug (varies): Expo Feria Comitán: Fiesta de la Marimba y las Flores (‘Marimba and Flower Festival’) – Comitán, State of Chiapas. An annual fair celebrated in honour of the city patron Santo Domingo de Guzmán (‘Saint Dominic’), whose feast day is commemorated on 4 Aug. The fair offers a wide range of activities and events: the traditional parade of floats with drummers, stilt walkers and the coronation of the Reina (‘Queen’), the meeting of the marimbas in the Central Park, the display of local handicrafts, funfair, fireworks, and so on. Link 2018 Programme.
• 29 July–5 Aug (varies): Festival Zacatecas del Folcolor Internacional (‘Zacatecas International Folklore Festival’) – Zacatecas, State of Zacatecas. An annual folklore festival held in the capital of Zacatecas and its surrounding municipalities since 1995. The festival lasts for 8 days, beginning on the last Sunday in July and finishing the following Sunday in August. With the participation of 20 different countries and 10 Mexican states, this festival offers varied representations of culture and traditions in dance, crafts and cuisine. Link 2018 Programme.
• 31 Jul–4 Aug (varies): Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore Tournament – Buenavista, State of Baja California Sur. An annual fishing tournament that celebrates the Los Cobo fishing tradition. It is one, and the first, of the three Bisbee’s tournaments – while Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore takes place in Buenavista each July, the Los Cabos Offshore Charity Tournament and Black & Blue Marlin Tournament take place every October in Cabo San Lucas. Bisbee’s Black & Blue Tournaments, started in 1981 by Bob Bisbee, have been taking place in the Los Cabos region of the Baja Peninsula for over 30 years, and it has grown from 6 teams with an award of $10,000 to more than 150 teams with millions of dollars on the line. This was, and remains, the largest award in sport-fishing history. Link 2018 Programme.
August is still rainy and warm in central and southern Mexico, whereas the northern part of the country is generally hot and dry. It is still a hurricane season – most hurricanes take place between August and October. This is the time of school holidays – so places of historical interest and beaches can be crowded with Mexican families.
If chillies are your spice of life, this is a great time to come as it is a season for fresh chillies. Throughout central Mexico, and especially in Puebla, the month of August is the best time to taste Mexico’s most delicious national dish, Chiles en Nogada, as the season lasts from July through September.
• August (mainly): 13 Jul–30 Sep (varies): Festival Estatal del Chile en Nogada (‘Chile in Walnut Sauce State Festival’) – Puebla, State of Puebla. An annual celebration of Mexico’s one of the most emblematic national dishes, chiles en nogada, held in the state of Puebla since 1991. With more than 50 exhibitors presenting their recipes, the festival has a peculiarity of being itinerant, as it takes place in different localities on certain days within the state throughout the season of chile poblano. Inspired by the Mexican flag, the dish contains a chile poblano (green), walnut sauce (white), with pomegranate seeds (red) sprinkled over. The program generally includes exhibitions, artistic events, gastronomic workshops, children’s games, visits to historical monuments and the contest of El mejor chile en nogada, organized on Sundays in August in traditional neighbourhoods of the city of Puebla and other municipalities of the state (for instance, Chignahuapan, San Martin Texmelucan, San Pedro Cholula, San Andrés Cholula, Amozoc, Atoyatempan, Huejotzingo, San Martín, Atlixco, Tochimilco, Tehiacán, Zacatlán, Calpan, San Nicolás de los Ranchos, San Lorenzo Chiautzingo and Huauchinango). Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 3–5 Aug (varies): Feria del Chile (‘Chilli Fair’) – Queréndaro, State of Michoacán. An annual chilli festival hosted in the town of Queréndaro around the harvest time since 2001 – it is an event full of tradition and very important for the people of the region and the state. The economy of Queréndaro is based on agriculture, especially in the production of corn, wheat, sorghum, beans, barley, chickpeas, and, most importantly, chillies. The objective of the fair is to highlight the production and variety of chillies that are produced and used to make different dishes. The star of the fair is the chile chilaca – colloquially known as cuernillo (‘little horn’) – as this type of chilli is most popularly grown commercially in this area. Most of the locally grown deep-red chile chilaca are spread along the main street of Queréndaro and left to dry in the sun until they become very dark red and are known as chile pasilla. If the seeds are removed from the dried chilli, it is called chile capon (‘castrated chilli’). Nearly 3000 acres of chile chilaca are planted in the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Zacatecas and Michoacán. The town organises a variety of gastronomic, sports and cultural activities (stalls specialising in all sorts of food centred on chillies; mechanical rides, crafts and sport tournaments for children and adults; ballet folklórico and music). Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 3–19 Aug (varies): Fiera de Huamantla (‘Huamantla Fair’) – Huamantla, State of Tlaxcala. An annual ancient and traditional event – the largest and most famous of its kind in Mexico, in which some 6–8 kms of city streets are decorated with beautiful tapetes de acerrín (sawdust carpets), made of colourful flower petals, coloured sawdust and other material. Sawdust carpets are traditionally created to greet a religious procession that walks over them. The tradition of decorating streets, still found in Mexico and other parts of South America, in this fashion began in Europe and was brought to the Americas by the Spanish. The event is dedicated to the city’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Caridad (‘Our Lady of Charity’), a popular Marian title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in many Catholic countries, including Mexico. Its origin is likely due to the worship of the goddess Xochiquetzal, goddess of love, flowers and arts. After the Conquest, the Spanish encouraged the veneration of the Virgin Mary instead. The carpets are made daily in the atrium of the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad by the local artisans. Each of these carpets, of about 40 sq meters, changes every day and is dedicated to the image of Virgin Mary. However, the most important carpets, of the 6–8 km in length, are created on the night of 14 Aug – the night is called La noche que nadie duerme (‘The night that no one sleeps’) – working all night in preparation for the main procession with the image of the Virgen de la Caridad on 15 Aug – i.e. on Día del Asunción de la Virgen (‘Feast of the Assumption’). The carpets are organised by committees and made by the various neighbourhoods. Another vital event that takes place as part of the fair is a running of the bulls called the Huamantlada (19 Aug). It is based on the running of the bulls in Pamplona in Spain, and it is the most famous of its kind in Mexico. There are also other activities like donkey and car races, a parade with floats, a feria queen, a paella festival, cockfights and a chess tournament, as well as traditional dances, music and costumes. Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 3–25 Aug (varies): Festival Internacional de Música de Cámara (‘International Chamber Music Festival’) – San Miguel de Allende, State of Guanajuato. The largest chamber music festival held in Mexico. It was established under the direction of Carmen Massip Hawkins in 1979. The main objective behind the festival is education, and every year the festival offers young talented students from Mexico and North America the opportunity to participate in workshops and master classes led b the quartet-in-residence, as well as guest groups. Link 2018 Programme.
• 3–26 Aug (varies): FENAPO: Feria Nacional Potosina (‘National Fair of San Luis Potosí) – San Luis Potosí, State of San Luis Potosí. An annual festival is one of the best national fairs in Mexico, whose primary objective is promoting the local culture, through various manifestations of the fine arts: theatre, dance, opera performances, as well as photography and art shows. Link 2018 Programme.
• 4–5 Aug (varies): Punta Mita Beach Festival – Punta Mita, Puerto Vallarta, State of Nayarit. An annual beach festival hosted by the St Regis Punta Mita resort on the north end of Banderas Bay. Apart from fine wine and dining as well as plenty of BBQs on the beach, the festival offers a number of events, such as surfing, yoga, sandcastle building for the kids and a fashion show showing the latest brands in surf attire. Link 2018 Programme.
• 7–12 Aug (varies): Festival Internacional de Cine para Niños (… y no tan Niños) (‘International Children’s Film Festival’) – Various States: Mexico City (CDMX), Hidalgo, Michoacán, Oaxaca and Tijuana. An annual film festival, organized by La Matatena (Film Association for Girls and Boys) since 1995, is aimed at children in the following categories: fiction or animation feature films, fiction short films, animation short films, documentaries directed to the children population, and short films made by children from Mexico and other countries. Link 2018 Programme.
• 14–18 Aug (varies): Expo ENART: Exposición Nacional de Articulos de Regalo y Decoración Artesanal Mexicana (‘Expo ENART: Mexican Handicrafts Fair’) – Tlaquepaque, State of Jalisco. A major trade show of decorative arts and crafts that takes place twice a year (mid-Feb and mid-Aug) in the Centro Cultural el Refugio in Tlaquepaque, a municipality on the outskirts of Guadalajara. The fair includes more than 200 exhibitions from the majority of Mexico’s 31 states. Among the media on display are wood, glass, papier-mâché, jewellery, ceramics, textile and fibre, and leather, as well as metalwork in iron, tin, and pewter. Although aimed primarily to wholesale sales, individuals may also attend the exposition and buy items (in some cases, if the purchase is made early in the week you may have to return on the last day of the sale to pick up your goods). Link 2018 Programme.
• 15 Aug: Día del Asunción de la Virgen (‘Feast of the Assumption of Virgin Mary’ / ‘Feast of the Assumption’) – Nationwide/observance. A feast day commemorating the assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. In Mexico the feast is observed nationwide but in some places it is associated with fairs, as, for instance, Huamantla – Fiera de Huamantla (‘Huamantla Fair’) (3–19 Aug) – in the State of Tlaxcala (see above), or in Cuidad del Carmen – Feria del Guanal (‘Guanal Fair’) (15–30 Aug) – in the State of Campeche, where an annual traditional, religious and cultural, fair takes place, named after a very old neighbourhood, in which houses had thatched (guano) roof before 1900. Link 2018 Programme.
• 16–23 Aug (varies): FIC Monterrey: Festival Internacional de Cine de Monterrey (‘Monterrey International Film Festival’) – Monterrey, State of Nuevo Leon. An annual film festival, founded in 2000 as the Voladero International Film and Video Festival, promotes the diversity in film industry and serves as a platform for discussing and sharing different points of views and perspectives among local, national and international film-makers. France is the Guest Country of this year – 14th – edition of the festival. Link 2018 Programme.
• 16 Aug–2 Sep (varies): Feria Nacional de la Plata de Fresnillo (‘National Silver Fair’) – Fresnillo, State of Zacatecas. An annual fair in the second largest city of Zacatecas that has been traditionally associated with a major production of silver in the world, becoming known as the Capital Mundial de la Plata (‘World Capital of the Silver’). Fresnillo is the location of one of the world’s richest silver mines, Mina Proaño, also known as Fresnillo Silver Mine, run by Peñoles since 1967. The origin of the fair goes back to 1954 – on the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the city commemorating the arrival of an expedition of Spanish explorers and conquistadors on 2 Sep 1554. Since 2008 the fair has featured a variety of cultural and artistic events of international quality. Link 2018 Programme.
• 18–20 Aug (varies): Feria del Hongo (‘Mushroom Fair’) – Senguio, State of Michoacán. A mushroom fair held in Senguio since 1998 as a celebration of the mushroom growing season in the region. The small town is a gateway to the Senguio sanctuary, one of the sanctuaries of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca) in the Transvolcanic Belt on the border of the states of Michoacán and México, where the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) comes to hibernate annually between Nov and Mar. During the fair there are many activities and events, from the classic attractions of the fair (mechanical games, local cuisine, dances and folk ballet) to, above all, conferences, workshops and exhibitions related to mushrooms. Link 2018 Programme.
• 20 Aug–2 Sep (varies): Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charrería (‘International Mariachi Festival’) – Guadalajara, State of Jalisco. An annual celebration of the world’s largest mariachi festival takes place in Guadalajara, the city’s most important cultural event of the year. Mariachi, a musical expression that dates back to at least C18, originated in different regions of the Western Mexico countryside. From the C19 to C20, due to migrations from rural areas into Guadalajara, it was gradually re-labelled as son mexicano style. Over 500 mariachis come from around the world to listen, audition, and compete. The celebration starts with a parade along the main streets of Guadalajara and features music and traditional dances. The Galas de Mariachi in the majestic Teatro Degollado are the main events. The best mariachis in the world sing along with a Philharmonic orchestra to create a unique fusion of classical and traditional songs. During the festival, teams from every corner of the country come to compete in the traditional Mexican sport of charrería (‘charreada’), a competitive event similar to rodeo. Link 2018 Programme.
• 30 Aug–2 Sep (varies): Las Morisimas De Bracho – Zacatecs, State of Zacatecas. A popular annual celebration commemorating Christian victory over Muslims in Old Spain, in which a series of historical presentations of battles between Christians and Moors take place. Held since 1836, this religious presentation – in which more than 5000 participants dressed as Moors – commemorate the beheading of St John the Baptist (29 Aug) and the struggle of Christians against the Moors, with the principal players representing Charlemagne, Mohamed and John the Baptist. The staging occurs at El Bracho Park behind the Cerro de la Bufa and ends with the decapitation of Mohamed. Link 2018 Programme.
• 31 Aug–2 Sep (varies): AsTri: Triatlón Veracruz (‘AsTri: Triathlon Veracruz’) – Boca del Rio, Veracruz, State of Veracruz. An annual event – the largest triathlon in Latin America – which receives more than 3000 athletes. It consists of different categories for all family: Olympic (1.5k swimming, 40K cycling and 10K running), Sprint (750m swimming, 20K cycling and 5k running), Only Beginners (400m swimming, 10k cycling and 2.5k running) and 3Kids (from 6 to 13 years). Friday is reserved for Elite Individuals, Saturday for Olympic, Sprint and Relay, while Sunday for 3Kids, Only Beginners and Elite Relay. Link 2018 Programme.
September is still rainy and warm in central and southern Mexico, whereas northern part of the country is generally hot and dry. By and large, it is an excellent time to visit Mexico, if on a tight budget, as good deals can be found due to the month generally being considered as the low season. However, it is the middle of a hurricane season – most hurricanes take place between mid-August and mid-October. Hurricanes frequently strike close together. Even those that only by-pass Mexico can bring torrential rainfall to a large portion of the country. So a special precaution should be taken if heading towards the coast or isolated rural areas.
September is el mes de la patria (month of the homeland) as colourful and patriotic activities and festivities take place in honour of the events that led up to the Independence of Mexico (Mexican War of Independence: 16 Sep 1810–27 Sep 1821) from Spain in 1821. The culmination of celebrations is on the 15th and 16th.
• 5–12 Sep (varies): México Shorts: Festival Internacional de Cortometrajes (‘Mexico Shorts: International Short Film Festival’) – 16 locations, Mexico City, CDMX. An annual event, created in 2005 to meet the various proposals for shorts, is the largest film festival in Latin America specialising in shorts. In addition to lectures and workshops, it serves as a platform that supports and promotes creative expression and different voices emerging and established filmmakers from around the world. It takes place at 16 locations of Mexico City, including the National Film Archives, Cinemex Reforma 222, Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Centro Lido Cinema Cultural Bella Epoca, UNAM University Cultural Center, Casa del Lago UNAM, Lighthouses and cultural centres belonging to the Ministry of Culture of the CDMX. Link 2018 Programme.
• 6–9 Sep (varies): Hay Festival: Imagine el Mondo (‘Hay Festival’) – Querétaro City, State of Querétaro. An annual cultural event celebrating art and science in inclusive events with international artists. It includes a variety of events: speeches, workshops, concerts and conferences with international experts in the fields of literature, visual arts, science, the environment, film, music, human rights and journalism. Link 2018 Programme.
• 6–24 Sep (varies): FENAZA: Feria Nacional de Zacatecas (‘National Fair of Zacatecas’) – Zacatecas City, State of Zacatecas. An annual traditional fair, with a wide variety of activities and events, is the most important celebration in the State of Zacatecas. Also, it is considered one of the most important fairs in Mexico along with the Fería Nacional de San Marcos (‘San Marcos Fair’) (*14 Apr–6 May 2018) and the Feria de León (‘León Fair’) (*12 Jan–6 Feb 2018). The fair is in honour of two locally important feasts – Día de Nuestra Señora de los Zacatecas (‘Feast of the Virgin of Zacatecas’) (8 Sep) and Día de Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio (‘Feast of Our Lady of Sponsorship/Patronage’) (15 Sep). The two cults are a Marian invocation of the Catholic Church. The first – Virgen de los Zacatecas, the principal patron saint of Zacatecas – is venerated at the city’s Catedral Basílica de la Asunción de Zacatecas (‘Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Zacatecas’) – one of the finest examples of Mexican Baroque (Churrigueresque) architecture – which holds the statue (made in polychrome wood in 1752) of her image in the south side altar. She is celebrated on her feast day on 8 Sep – Día de la Natividad de la Virgen (‘Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary’) – as an anniversary of the founding of the city of Zacatecas on 8 Sep 1546. On that day, a group of Spanish explorers discovered silver in the area – and from 1548 onwards, the exploitation of Real de Minas (‘Royal Mine’) began. Thanks to the wealth obtained from silver mining, Philip II, King of Spain (1556–98), granted the place its title Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de los Zacatecas. The second – Virgen del Patrocinio – is worshipped at the Santuario de la Virgen del Patrocinio (‘Shrine of Our Lady of Patronage’). The FENAZA, as it is commonly known, has an extensive artistic and cultural programme for the whole family. Like many Mexican fairs, it offers similar programme, such as performances of traditional dances, music and theatre (Teatro del Pueblo), religious processions, parades with floats, a beauty pageant with the coronation of the Reina (‘Queen’), artisan exhibitions and artistic events, Palenque (‘a cockpit in cockfighting’), bullfighting, charrería, amusement rides for children, and more. Link 2018 Programme.
• 7–8 Sep: Reto al Tepozteco (‘Tepozteco Challenge’) – Tepoztlán, State of Morelos. An annual religious and traditional festivity – organised in conjuction with the Día de la Natividad de la Virgen (‘Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary’) (8 Sep) – is the most important celebration for Tepoztlán, held since approximately from the year of 1850. The celebration, also known as Altepeilhuitl (‘Feast of the People’), is a communal event, in which the inhabitants, as a collective memory, perform the ceremony of the vigil and baptism of the last tlatoāni (‘ruler, lord, king’) of Tepozteco – the ritual of which symbolizes the conversion from polytheistic to Catholic religion, recalling the fusion of pre-Hispanic culture with the Catholic faith. The dramatic representation is performed in Nahuatl (the language of Aztecs, with Spanish translation). Prior to 8 Sep, according to the legend of the Tepozteco, in 1538 the tlatoāni of Tepozteco – the word refers to Tepoztecatl, Aztec god of pulque, whose pyramid, El Tepezteco, built by the people of Xochimilco (who lived in the region between 1150–1350), is on one of the peaks of the Sierra de Tepoztlan overlooking the town – was first challenged by the Dominican Fray Domingo de la Annunciación (1510–1591). From the top of the temple, the strength of each of their faith was tested: Tepozteco threw his offering of a stone figure to Ometochtli, while the Fray threw his offering of a metal cross to Jesus Christ. The stone figure broke, while the metal cross was left intact. Having lost the challenge, Tepozteco converted to Catholicism by a way of baptism – and so did the natives of the town. On having heard that Tepozteco betrayed their ancient gods and accepted the religion brought by the Spaniards, on 8 Sep he was challenged by the allies of the tlatoāni of Cuauhnáhuac (now Cuernavaca, the capital of the state of Morelos) – Yautepec, Oaxtepec, Tlayacapan – at the foothills of Cerro del Tepozteco. In the event the challenge is performed with dances representing the tlahtohqueh (‘rulers’) of Yautepec, Oaxtepec, Tlayacapan and Cuernavaca versus Tepozteco. At the end, according to the legend, Tepozteco persuaded the four rulers that Tepoztlán was not a village but a sacred place, so he calmly convinced them to accept Christianity for the good of all people. The celebration begins on the night of 7 Sep with the procession of Virgen de la Natividad, followed by the vigil of the costumes to be used in the representation in the civic square, and a nocturnal procession toward the pyramid, where people offer food and beverages. The celebration is accompanied by several events including the hypnotic Danza de los Chinelos, fireworks, and a food festival. Link 2018 Programme.
• 8–9 Sep: Feria de Colonche (‘Colonche Fair’) – Laguna de Guadalupe, State of Guanajuato. An annual (4th edition) festival celebrating and promoting the consumption of colonche, an alcoholic red coloured drink made by Mexicans for thousands of years with tuna, the fruits of nopal (Opuntia cacti, commonly known as prickly pear). This sweet and fizzy drink is prepared in the states where wild nopal is abundant: Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas. During the festival one can learn about the the process of preparing this drink: first, the cactus fruits are peeled and crushed to obtain the juice, which is boiled for 2-3 hours; and second, after cooling, the juice is allowed to ferment for a few days. Link 2018 Programme.
• 13 Sep: Día de los Niños Heroes (‘Day of the Boy Heroes or Heroic Cadets’) – Civic holiday. Celebration of the Battle of Chapultepec (Chapultepec Castle, Chapultepec Hill, Mexico City) on 12–13 Sep 1847 during the Mexican-American War (25 Apr 1846–2 Feb 1848), in which six Mexican military cadets (880 in total) heroically sacrificed their lives for the nation against the American army According to the military records, the cadets refused to fall back as the superior USA forces (2,000 in total) moved to take the castle – choosing to fight to the death, the last of the six is said to have wrapped in a flag and jumped from the castle point. This historical event is also commemorated in a monument of 6 pillars at the foot of the castle near the capital’s main boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma. Link.
• 14 Sep: Día de los Charros (‘Day of the Charros’) – States of Jalisco, Zacatecas, Durango, Chihuahua and Aguascaliente. Celebration of the charro – a traditional horseman (a cowboy) but also a gentleman from Mexico, dressed in his elegant costume and wide sombrero –, originating in the central-western regions of Mexico. Places like Guadalajara, Pátzcuaro, Mexico City, Aguascalientes and Zacatecas enjoy charrería (‘charreada’) parading through town in their finery. Charrería – which has become the official competitive sport of Mexico, similar to the rodeo in the USA – developed from animal husbandry practices used on the haciendas (‘estate’) during the Spanish colonial times. It is a deeply rooted tradition which runs in families passed from one generation to another from childhood – a little boy becomes a charro as soon as he mounts on horseback, while a little girl becomes an escaramuza. In 2016, it was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Link. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 14–16 Sep: Mezcalmanía (‘Mezcalmania’) – Morelia, State of Michoacán. An annual (5th edition) festival, which integrates the main traditional Mexican drinks, such as mezcal, tequila, charanda, pulque and craft beer. But the main focus of the festival is to offer the taste of the best mezcal, made from any type of agave, produced in Mexico: from the states of Michoacán, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Guanajuato, and Puebla. Link 2018 Programme.
• 15–16 Sep: Fiesta Patrias: Grito de Dolores (Eve of 15 Sep) & Día de la Independencia (‘Independence Day’) – National holiday. Commemoration of the start of Mexican War of Independence (16 Sep 1810–27 Sep 1821), which was provoked by an upsurge of patriotic feeling on the eve of the 15 Sep due to Father Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla‘s famous call to rebellion – the Grito de Dolores (‘Cray of Dolores’) – in the then-village of Dolores, now-city of Dolores Hidalgo, near Guanajuato City in the state of Guanajuato. The Grito ends with the threefold shout shouting ¡Viva Mexico!, and with that Don Hidalgo called for the end of Spanish rule in Mexico. The Republic of Mexico officially declared 16 Sep as its national Independence Day on 18 Oct 1825. The celebrations take place all over the country, with civic ceremonies and parades, fiestas and picnics, and family reunions. At 11pm on 15 Sep, the president gives the independence Grito from the Palacio Nacional (‘National Palace’) in Mexico City. A crowd of at least half a million of people flock into the Zócalo (‘Main plaza’), and the rest of the country watches on TV or participates in local celebrations. Tall buildings are covered in the national colours of the Mexican flag (red, green, and white). The schedule of events is exactly the same in every village, town, and city across Mexico. Querétaro City and San Miguel de Allende, where Independence conspirators lived and met, also celebrate elaborately, while there is the Fiestas Patrias in Dolores Hidalgo (7–23 Sep) with various music and cultural events. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 21 Sep–21 Oct (varies): Festival Internacional Chihuahua (‘Chihuahua International Festival’) – Chihuahua, State of Chihuahua. An annual festival since 2005 includes more than 500 cultural events – dance, theatre, opera, film festival, book fair, tributes to outstanding artists and writers, art exhibitions – with participants from throughout Mexico and other countries. There are also activities for children and young people. Link 2018 programme.
• 22–23 Sep (*22 Sep 2018): Equinoccio de otoño (‘Autumn Equinox’) – Chichén Itzá, State of Yucatán. An annual astronomical event celebrating the Maya civilisation, through their history and architecture, that takes place at the ancient sacred city of Chichén Itzá (c. AD 600–1200). The archaeological site is the most popular spot in Mexico to celebrate the Autumn Equinox (the other two sites are those at Teotihuacan and El Tajín). Twice a year, on the Spring (around 20–21 March) and Autumn (around 22–23 Sep) Equinoxes, thousands of people gather at the Temple of Kulkulkan (built between C9–C12) to watch the effect of Kulkulkan (‘Plumed’ or ‘Feathered Serpent’, a Maya snake deity similar to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl) projected on the north side of the terraced pyramid. For more, see the main article: Equinoccio de primavera (‘Spring Equinox’) (forthcoming).
• 28-30 Sep (varies): Alborada: Las Fiestas de San Miguel Arcángel (‘Dawn: Festivities of the Archangel Michael’) – San Miguel de Allende, State of Guanajuato. An annual religious festivity, celebrated on the weekend closest to 29 Sep – the Día de San Miguel Archángel – the feast day of the patron saint of the city, which also coincides with a commemoration of the battle of the conquest of the indigenous groups in this area that took place at the Santa Cruz del Puerto de Caldron (14–29 Sep 1531). As it is typical for a fiesta patronal in Mexico, the whole city participates in the celebration, in which each neighbourhood organizes its own fiesta, starting at 12:00 am and ending in the communal celebration in the Plaza Principal (‘Main Square’), with the arrival of the Estrellas (‘Stars’) at approximately 2:30am. The Alborada – a ‘dawn’ celebration with mariachi music and fireworks – begins at 4:00am culminating at 5:00am with the traditional Las Mañanitas in honour of the patron saint. Various artistic and cultural events continue on Saturday at 11:00am until 4:00pm, when a unique callejoneada (‘street/alleys parade/procession’) starts. The street parade of dances and offerings, known as Entrada de los Xúchilles (‘Entrance of the Xúchilles), is a mixture of pre-Hispanic rituals and Catholic traditions. It is headed by a ceremonial procession of the image of San Miguel – taken down from the main altar of La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel and carried on a flower-covered dias visiting the main places of worship in the historic district – followed by the Danza de los Concheros and offerings of xúchilles (‘made out of plants, mainly marigolds and cactuses’) made by people from rural and traditional urban communities, and finished with las mojigangas (’participants wearing giant papier–mâché puppets with satirical or grotesque masks). Link 2018 Programme. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 29 Sep: Día national del Maíz (‘National Day of Corn’) – Nationwide. Celebration of corn, set at the beginning of the corn harvest since 2009, is aimed at raising national awareness in safeguarding the heritage of Mexico and humanity. It is marked with demonstrations, marches and expositions. Corn, a symbol of the farming communities, is the source of life and identity that has nourished and sustained generations of Mexicans from pre-Hispanic times to the present day. Mexico is the centre of the origin of corn, with more than 60,000 native breeds and varieties. Yet, Mexico now imports one-third of this sacred icon and staple food, mostly from the USA. For this reason, various campaigns – such as Sin maíz, no hay país (‘Without Corn There Is No Country’) and Semilla de Vida (‘Seeds of Life’) – are fighting on behalf of small farmers against the threats of Monsanto and other GMO giants, the Mexican and USA governments, and the WTO. The value of defending ancient practices is to defend the people, to defend biodiversity and many species of corn that retain the native peoples and peasants throughout Mexico. To defend corn is to defend the right to food, the right to remain owners of the seeds that ancestral peoples have inherited. For more, see the main article (forthcoming).
• 30 Sep: Natalicio de José María Morelos y Pavón (‘José María Morelos y Pavón’s Birthday) – Civic holiday. Commemoration of the birth of José María Morelos y Pavón (1765–1815), a Mexican Catholic priest and one of the revolutionary rebel leader of the Mexican War of Independence (16 Sep 1810–27 Sep 1821), assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla (1753–1811) in 1811. He was captured by the Spanish royalist military, tried by the Inquisition, defrocked as a cleric, and executed by civic authorities for treason in 1815. Following the execution, his Lieutenant, Vicente Guerrero (1782–1831), continued the armed struggle against the Spaniards for Mexican independence.
• 26 Sep–14 Oct (varies): Fiestas del Sol (‘Festival of the Sun’) – Mexicali, State of Baja California. An annual traditional and popular event held since 1975 is the most important fair in the region. It offers a variety of artistic and cultural events in a friendly family atmosphere. Link 2018 Programme.
• 27 Sep–21 Oct (varies): Feria de San Francisco Hidalgo (‘San Francisco Hidalgo Fair’) – Pachuca, State of Hidalgo. An annual fair, one of 5 best fairs in Mexico, is recognised as one of the best entertainment events of the year in the state of Hidalgo and in the centre of Mexico. Link 2018 Programme.
TO BE CONTINUED
- On detailed listings of holidays, festivals and celebrations throughout the year in Mexico see (bilingual) Zona Turística, (in English) TripSavvy, Mexperience, The Real Mexico and Wikipedia, or (in Spanish) Ferias de México, Donde Hay Feria and México Desconocido.
- On the weather in Mexico by regions see TripSavvy [Accessed 24 Jun 2018].
- On the climate in Mexico by regions see Wikipedia [Accessed 1 Sep 2018].
- Filz, Gretchen. 2016. “Does Christmas End on Epiphany?” Catholic Company. 4 Jan 2016. Article [Accessed 18 Dec 2016].
- Franz, Carl & Lorena Havens. 2006. The People’s Guide to Mexico. Berkeley (CA): Avalon Travel.
- Paz, Octavio. (1961)1985. The Labyrinth of Solitude. First published by Grove Press. London: Penguin Books.
- “Saints” (calendar format). Saint of the Day. Franciscan Media. Link [Accessed 18 Dec 2016].
- “Saints” (list format). Modern Catholic Dictionary: The Roman Calendar. The Real Presence Association. Link [Accessed 18 Dec 2016].