Mexican Holidays and Meanings


January 1: Año Nuevo (New Year's Day), is an official Mexican holiday. People here have a tradition of eating dinner with family at about midnight. At 12:00 everybody starts eating 12 grapes and makes 12 wishes for each grape. People usually make big dolls referring to an old man and after dinner everybody goes outside and burns the old man. This is an analogy for burning the old year and receiving the New Year. After this celebration most of the young people go to parties or clubs to celebrate the New Year. This is a paid holiday.

January 6: Día de Los Santos Reyes is the day when Mexicans exchange Christmas presents in accordance with the arrival of the three gift-bearing wise men to Jesus Christ. This day culminates the Christmastime festivities. On this day the Mexican culture is to eat big round bread named “Rosca de Reyes”. In the rosca there are 3 little dolls meant to be the three kings, whoever gets the little doll has to give a party on February 2 and the Mexican tradition is to have Tamales as the main dish. This is a paid holiday.

January 17: Feast Day of de San Antonio de Abad is a religious holiday during which the Catholic Church allows animals to enter the church for blessing. This is not a paid holiday.


February 2: Día de la Candelaria or Candlemas, is a religious holiday that is celebrated with processions, dancing, bullfights in certain cities, and the blessing of the seeds and candles. The festivities are best seen in: San Juan de los Lagos, Jalapa; Talpa de Allende, Jalisco; and Santa Maria del Tuxla, Oaxaca. People that get one of the kings in their Rosca de Reyes (from January 6) have to throw the party on this date with Tamales. This is not a paid holiday.

February 23-28 (2005): Carnival is an official Mexican holiday that kicks off a five-day celebration of the libido before the Catholic lent. Beginning the weekend before Lent, Carnaval is celebrated exuberantly with parades, floats and dancing in the streets. Port towns such as Ensenada, La Paz, Mazatlan and Veracruz are excellent places to watch Carnaval festivities. Dates change slightly as follows: 2007: Feb 15-20; 2008: Jan 31 - Feb 5; 2009: Feb 19-24; 2010: Feb 11-16. Generally students get 3 days of from school but people that are working only get 1 day of. This is not a paid holiday

February 5: Día de la Constitución an official holiday that commemorates Mexico's Constitution. This is a paid holiday.

February 24: Flag Day, This Mexican national holiday honors the Mexican flag. Generally all the schools make a small parade that commemorates the Mexican flag. This is not a paid holiday


March 19: St. Joseph's Day, Día de San Jose religious holiday best seen in Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi. This is not a paid holiday.

March 21: The Birthday of Benito Juarez, a famous and most honest Mexican president and national hero, this is an official Mexican holiday. This is a paid holiday.


Semana Santa: Semana Santa is the holy week that ends the 40-day Lent period. This week includes Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is not a paid holiday.


May 1: Primero de Mayo is the Mexican national holiday that is equivalent to the U.S. Labor Day. This is a paid holiday.

May 3: Holy Cross Day Día de la Santa Cruz, when construction workers decorate and mount crosses on unfinished buildings, followed by fireworks and picnics at the construction site. This is a religious belief and the decorations and crosses are for God to protect them while they work. This is not a paid holiday.

May 5: Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican national holiday that honors the Mexican victory over the French army at Puebla de los Angeles in 1862. This is a paid holiday.

May 10: Mother's Day, Due to the importance of the mother in Mexican culture, Mother's Day is an especially significant holiday. This is not a paid holiday


June 1: Navy Day is an official Mexican holiday. This is not a paid holiday.

June 24: Saint John the Baptist Day is celebrated with religious festivities, fairs, and popular jokes connected to getting dunked in water. This is not a paid holiday.

June 29: Fiesta of Saint Peter and Saint Paul notable celebrations in Mexcaltitlan, Nayarit and Zaachila, Oaxaca. This is not a paid holiday.


September 1: Annual State of the Union, though this date is an approximation, the President delivers the address in the autumn. This is not a paid holiday.

September 16: Mexican Independence Day celebrates the day that Miguel Hidalgo delivered El Grito de Dolores o El Grito de la Independencia, and announced the Mexican revolt against Spanish rule. This is a paid holiday.


October 12: Día de la Raza, This day celebrates Columbus' arrival to the Americas, and the historical origins of the Mexican race. This is not a paid holiday.


November 1-2: Día de los Muertos is an important Mexican holiday that merges Pre-Columbian beliefs and modern Catholocism. Europe's All Saints' Day and the Aztec worship of the dead contribute to these two days that honor Mexico's dead. People buy traditional Mexican candies and food and make shrines to honor their family members and friends that have past away. This is a very important holiday for Mexican’s. This is a paid holiday.

November 20: Mexican Revolution Day, This official Mexican holiday celebrates the Mexican Revolution of 1910. On this day an official parade is done and commemorates the war veterans. This is a paid holiday.


December 12: Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, or the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated with a feast honoring Mexico's patron saint. This is a very important holiday to Mexican’s. People go out on the street and walk through the streets of their cities with candles and with a picture or a shirt that symbolizes the Virgen de Guadalupe. This is not a paid holiday.

December 16: Las Posadas celebrates Joseph and Mary's search for shelter in Bethlehem with candlelight processions that end at various nativity scenes. These are very big parties with lots of food, piñatas are bought too. Las Posadas continue through January 6. This is not a paid holiday.

December 25: Navidad, with the rest of the Christian world, Mexico celebrates Christmas day. It is common in most cities that Dec 24th is the day for opening gifts after dinner which starts around midnight. The 25th is spent mostly with family and the meal is called ‘recalentado’ which means the ‘leftover’ meal.

December 31: This day is not a holiday however, most Mexican families have dinner together then later they go out. At every City Hall, in every town there is a fiesta where people just go and hang out. It is free, lots of families and friends walking around.


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