Mexico is home to some of the world’s most famous festivals, as well as many more specialty ones you may have never heard of. As a country famed for its vibrancy, culture, food, and music, it’s no wonder that the locals know how to throw an excellent party, whatever the occasion.
When planning a trip to Mexico, make sure to factor in one of these 6 Mexican festivals that you just don’t want to miss.
1. Cozumel Carnival
Where? Cozumel, an island off the Eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula
With the slogan ‘Fiesta in Paradise’ and 140 years of history to back it up, this is one of Mexico’s most famous and longest-running carnivals. Soak up the sun on this gorgeous island and enjoy a feast of food, drink, live music, dancing and extravagant parades.
2. International Mariachi Festival
When? Late August/Early September
If you’re into sombreros and the true Latin flavor of arguably Mexico’s most famous music, then the International mariachi festival is for you. Held annually in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest city, this huge festival is sure to satisfy your cravings for elaborately embroidered suits and trumpets.
3. Cervantino festival
Every October this art extravaganza comes together to celebrate the works of Spanish novelist Miguel Cervantes, who wrote Don Quijote. Initially, just a small festival held in the beautiful colonial city of Guanajuato, it has over time become one of the largest and most revered arts festivals in Latin America.
4. La Guelaguetza
When? The last two Mondays in July
La Guelaguetza is one of Mexico’s most expressive historic festivals, where over 50 villages worth of local people gather in Oaxaca to celebrate their indigenous cultures through music and dance, alongside displays of traditional handicrafts unique to each village. Make sure not to miss the dance of the feather (Danza de la pluma), in which the Spanish conquest is re-enacted using headdresses, rattles, drums and wind instruments.
5. Fiesta de Santa Cecilia
Where? Mexico City
When? November 22nd
Santa Cecilia is best known as the patron Saint of musicians. On the 22nd of November, each year Mexico City hosts a special gathering in the famed mariachi square to honor Santa Cecilia through a tribute concert, mariachi bands and a huge open-air party of dancing, drinking, and singing.
Read more about Mexico City here.
6. Day of the Dead
Where? Everywhere in Mexico. But Pátzcuaro is the mecca
When? November 1st & 2nd
No list of Mexican festivals would be complete without including the internationally famed Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead. In Mexico, death is not mourned as much as it is celebrated. On these two very special days, gifts are left for the dead, such as sweets, sugar skulls, and marigolds. This huge and colorful party is celebrated all across Mexico at the beginning of each November, however, to get the full effect get yourself to Pátzcuaro for the festivities.
Whether you’re out to party, to eat, to dance, listen to music or learn more about the fascinating indigenous cultures, Mexico has a festival to suit just about everyone. My choice of 6 Mexican festivals is just a small selection of all events and festivals this beautiful country has to offer. If you can’t find yourself in one of these, there’s bound to be one happening more to your liking. They do love a good fiesta, after all.