Travel Info >> Holidays and Festivals -- Costa Maya & Quintana Roo, Mexico
Mexico is famous for its celebrations. Because of its
small population, the Costa Maya as of yet does not have any unique
historical celebrations (unless you include the celebration of the opening
of Lobster season!), but all of the traditional Mexican holidays are
celebrated and most of the people are catholic, so Catholic holidays
are all celebrated.
January 1 -- Año Nuevo The first day of each year is a very important day. When we first moved to Mexico we were astounded to see that stores are open on Christmas day,but NOT on January 1st. This is a day to spend time with family, make resolutions and think about the year that has past. This is a legal paid holiday for most Mexicans
January 6 -- Día
de Los Santos Reyes or the Day of Kings/Magi. This is the
day that celebrates the visit of the three wise men to Jesus Christ.
On this day, Mexicans exchange Christmas presents and culminate the
celebrations of Christmas. On the Christian calendar, the twelfth day
after Christmas. It is known as "Epiphany", "Twelfth
Night", or "Kings Day." It is the day in Mexico that
children receive presents in commemoration of the gift of the Magi.
February 2 -- Día de la
Candelaria or Candlemas, is a religious holiday also called
the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. The day is celebrated
with processions, dancing, bullfights in some cities, and the blessing
of the seeds and candles The person who got the plastic figurine of
Jesus in the Roscas on Dia de Los Santos Reyes is responsible for throwing
a fiesta for friends and family. Its also marks the day that the Nativity
scene is put away. Generally, they celebrate with a dinner party with
Tamales and invite all the family and friends that were present at the
Rosca de Reyes or Kings Bread cutting.
February 5 -- Día de la Constitución -- official holiday that commemorates Mexico's Constitution. Banks are not open on this day.
February 23-28 (2006) -- Carnaval is an official Mexican holiday that kicks off a five-day celebration before Catholic Lent. Carnaval is celebrated in Mahahual with a party and dancing in the coast road. Chetumal and Bacalar also have week long Carnaval festivities. Dates change for Carnaval each year: 2007: Feb. 15-20; 2008: Jan 31 - Feb. 5; 2009: Feb. 19-24; 2010: Deb 11-16.
February 24 -- Día de la Bandera or Flag Day, This Mexican national holiday honors the Mexican flag. All over Mexico you will see vendors selling flags and items of the national colors - green, white and red.
March 21st - Spring Equinox
and Benito Juarez Birthday
This is also the birth date of Benito Juárez, one of Mexico's most revered rulers. Almost every town in Mexico, including Chetumal has a major street named after the Zapotec Indian who became one of the most honored of Mexican presidents. Juarezs birthday is widely celebrated with parties, dances and music throughout the whole country, and I assume will be celebrated along the Costa Maya as well.
Holy Week -- Semana Santa - the
week before Easter -
April 30-- Día
del Niño or Childrens Day. This is similar to
Mother's day in the US where Children are honored with parties and gifts,
usually cakes and sometimes a piñata filled with candy.
May 1 Día del Trabajo - Labor Day or day of the worker. This is a National paid holiday . Businesses and government offices are all closed. Occasionally you may see protests.
May 5- Cinco de Mayo
May 10 -- Dia de Las Madres --
May 25-29 (2006 ) Cancun Jazz Festival
June 1 - Dia de la Marina (Navy Day)
Mid June, Corpus Christi
June 24 Fiesta de San Juan Bautista
(St. John the Baptist Feast)
This religious event is celebrated with processions, parades of flowers and rites all over the country, and especially in Mexico City with a huge mass at the Basilica de La Virgen de Guadalupe, home of the original image of the Virgin which is revered nationwide.
Sept 16th Independence Day - Dia
de la Independencia or Dia de la Patria Don't plan on anything
being open beginning about 1:00 on the 15th or on the 16th. The celebration
of Mexicos independence declaration from Spain in 1810 is the
most important national holiday. Public buildings in all cities are
draped with the national flag and a huge military parade takes the main
streets of the Zocalo, all dressed in green and red. El Grito,
a reenactment of Father Hidalgos call for his countrymen to join
the uprising, is performed by the president at 11 pm on the 15th from
the National Palace, in Mexico Citys Constitution Square, as well
as in most town squares. At the shout of Viva Mexico, the
Mexicans shouts back Viva nationwide. The town of Mahahual
began celebrating this day in 2004.
Sep 21- Autumn Equinox
October 12th Race Day or Columbus Day (Dia
de la Raza)
November 1-2 Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the
Nov. 20th Day of the Revolution (Dia
de la Revolucion)
Dec. 8th The Immaculate Conception (La Inmaculada
Concepción de la Virgen María)
Dec. 12 -Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe
- patroness of Mexico. Pilgrims from around
the country converge at the famous basilica in Mexico City, where the
revered shroud displaying the image of the Virgin is held. The Virgin
appeared to a Mexican Native, Juan Diego, in 1531, asking him to build
a church for her on Tepeyac hill. She asked Diego to pick some roses
and give them to the bishop when conveying the Virgins request.
Diego carried the roses in his cloak, barefoot running for many miles
and when he got to the bishop and let the roses spill out in front of
him, a wonderful image of the Virgin was emblazoned in the shroud. Yearly
his trek is repeated by thousands of Mexicans who run along the sides
of the roads in week long journeys across the country. Great respect
is offered these runners who are often accompanied by police cars and
given free food, drink and lodging. The only bad thing about this is
that it really affects traffic as cars work to pass the runners safely.
Nine days leading up to Christmas Day (Posadas
Dec. 25th-Navidad - Christmas in Mexico is a big event and Mexicans travel a lot from mid December until the Epiphany. This is definitely not the best period for last minute travel particularly if you have not booked in advance. Prices for accommodation and rental cars can increase 30-40%. Unlike the US, stores are not closed on Christmas day, but many people take two weeks off during this time. While Government offices are not officially closed, many important people go to their home towns so anything requiring official signatures can't get done for several weeks.
Culinary note: I always wanted to include traditional foods at Mayan Beach Garden. One of the most interesting is Bacalau - made from salt cod, olives and potatoes. We make plenty and then use it as leftovers several days later, in empanadas and with eggs.
Dec. 31 New Year's Eve . Parties are held in many towns all around Mexico, with fireworks and plenty of noise. Just before midnight church and clock bells toll twelve times, and people eat one grape making a wish for the New Year on each of the twelve strikes. Businesses are usually closed this day.
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