Mexico is so rich in culture. Their music, food, clothing, and festivals are all just so oozing with their identity and uniqueness. We’re all already very familiar with their food, right? And we’ve somewhat known some of their clothing and music too. So that leaves us to their celebrations to discover more about. What are they and how do they enjoy these events? Hopefully we can enjoy them too here on our side of the world. What are the popular Mexican festivals and celebrations we should all know?
Son Jarocho Music Festival
Thousands of Mexican natives and even tourists flock to the colonial riverside town of Tlacotalpanin early February to celebrate Candelaria. This is a religious celebration featuring a glorious image of the Virgin being floated down the river. For many people, however, the real highlight is a simultaneous Son Jarocho Music Festival. This involves a three-day romp showcasing traditional Veracruz-style music.
Cinco de Mayo
Americans, believe it or not, celebrate Cinco de Mayo more than how Mexicans do. This is because the date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. In Mexico though, it honors the date in 1862 when Mexican soldiers defeated the French army in Puebla. Emperor Napoleon III’s intent in sending the army was to replace Mexico’s government with a monarchy that supported France. Celebrations in Puebla include lectures, concerts and cultural programs in the days before May 5. On the 5th, the Mexican army, joined by costumed residents, leads a parade. One Mexico City neighborhood settled by descendants of the original soldiers holds a daylong celebration with a street party and parade.
Day of the Dead
Each year on November 1 and 2, Mexico turns its thoughts to the departed during the Day of the Dead festivities. This celebration is a very colorful tradition deeply rooted in indigenous culture. For Mexicans, death is more a cause for celebration than mourning. They also believe that the spirits have been kept very much alive in Pátzcuaro, the Día de Muertos mecca. On All Saints Day, November 1, small children who have died are honored as angelitos or little angels. The next day, All Souls Day, is set aside for remembering older family members and friends who have passed away.
Las Posadas re-creates Mary and Joseph’s search for a room at an inn. The festival begins on December 16, when a man and a woman portraying Joseph and Mary lead a procession of the Magi, shepherds and children dressed as angels. The group goes from house to house searching for a room. As part of the act, the group finds themselves turned away until they reach a designated welcoming home. Eventually, the people gather for a party, and at the end, they leave a doll at the home which the next night’s participants will have to pick up. The festival goes on each night until Christmas Eve, when it is followed by midnight Mass.
Dia De Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico. A dark-skinned version of Virgin Mary, she appeared to Juan Diego, a poor Indian convert to Catholicism. No one believed Juan Diego until, after a third apparition, he imprinted an image of the Virgin Mary on his cloak. Deemed a miraculous work by the church, Diego’s cloak now hangs in the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City. Each year, on December 12, Mexicans honor their patron saint with parades and religious celebrations.