The holidays celebrated in Mexico are a little different from the ones you’re used to in the U.S.
Sure, people there observe religious holidays like Easter and popular holidays like New Year’s Eve. But, they also have their own cultural and national celebrations stemming from Mexico’s unique history and traditions.
Here are some interesting Mexican holidays to look forward to in 2018 – some of which you may have never heard of before.
1. Constitution Day – February 5th
Constitution Day in Mexico always falls on the first Monday in February. This national holiday celebrates the day the constitution was adopted back in 1917.
Schools, businesses, and government offices are all closed for the day, and the country celebrates with parades and fanfare in the streets. There will also be concerts, festivals, and other gatherings.
2. Benito Juarez’s Birthday – March 19
Benito Juarez is one of Mexico’s most revered presidents and a leader that helped turn the country from a dictatorship to a democracy. Every year, the country celebrates the day of his birth to remember this important man, who is often referred to as “the Abraham Lincoln of Mexico.”
For this national holiday, schools and businesses close. In Juarez’s birth city, San Pablo Guelatao, there are festivities like dances, tournaments, and fireworks.
3. Cinco de Mayo – May 5th
Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated in the U.S., but for Mexicans, it marks winning an 1862 battle against France in the country’s bid for independence.
As such, it’s often celebrated as a sort of second independence day, though it’s not a national holiday.
4. Independence Day (Día de la Independencia) – September 16
Mexico’s official Independence Day is celebrated in September. This holiday commemorates the Mexican War of Independence, which eventually led to victory over the Spanish in 1821.
Celebrations take place in Mexico City and include the ringing of Father Hidalgo’s bell. Hidalgo was a major leader in the war and originally rang the bell to announce the beginning of the revolution in Mexico.
5. Day of the Dead (El Día de Los Muertos) – November 2nd
A widely celebrated holiday in Mexico is Day of the Dead. This unofficial holiday dates back to Mexican indigenous tribes who believed the souls of the dead returned to earth once a year to commune with the living.
Families honor their dead loved ones with altars and displays. Pictures of the deceased (or their graves) are decorated with flowers, candles, skulls (often in the form of colorful candies and marzipan), personal effects, and their favorite foods.
Families eat and drink in remembrance of the dead and often say prayers or chants. Many keep vigils all night long, and bells will ring throughout the evening.
Explore Mexican Culture Through Its Holidays
Other countries and cultures are fun to get to know through their holidays. Celebrate one of these important days on the Mexican calendar by reading up on the history, making some traditional Mexican food, and throwing a get-together.