JAN 1: New Year's Day (Año Nuevo) - Mexico rings in the New Year with celebrations featuring music, dance, food and fireworks. Streets are filled with revelers, and friends and families congregate for parties that often last till dawn.
JAN 6: Three Kings' Day (Dia de los Santos Reyes) - The Feast of the Epiphany recalls the arrival in Bethlehem of the three wise men bearing gifts for baby Jesus. This is the day of traditional gift-giving for children in the central and southern regions of Mexico. Rosca de Reyes, a crown-shaped sweet bread decorated with candied fruits with a small doll baked inside, is served on this day. Whoever is lucky enough to find the figure in his slice of bread must host a party on February 2, Candlemas Day, offering tamales (stuffed cornflour cakes wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves) and atole (a hot, sweet drink thickened with corn flour) to the guests.
FEB 2: Candlemas Day (Dia de la Candelaria) - Celebrated with candlelit processions and dancing in many towns throughout the country, this holiday marks the end of the Christmas celebration. On this national holiday, families and friends gather together to enjoy tamales and atole (a hot, sweet drink thickened with corn flour).
FEB 3-8: Carnival (Carnaval) - Celebrations begin five days before Ash Wednesday and are marked by parades, parties and dancing in the streets.
FEB 5: Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) - This day commemorates the signing of Mexico's third constitution on the 5th of February 1917. It continues to be the basis of the Mexican legal system to this day.
FEB 24: Flag Day (Día de la Bandera) - On this day in 1821, the Iguala Plan was signed, and Mexico officially became an independent country, thus ending the war of independence.
MAR 20-27: Holy Week (Semana Santa) - Beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday, the week's religious celebrations include reenactments of the events leading up to Christ's crucifixion
.MAR 21: Benito Juarez Day (Día de Benito Juárez) - This day marks the birthday of Benito Juárez García, Mexico's most important leader. A Zapotec born in the state of Oaxaca in 1806, he overcame prejudice and other obstacles to become President in 1857. Once in power, he instituted long-overdue anti-church reforms which sparked off the Reform Wars.
MAY 1: Labour Day (Primero de Mayo) - Labour Day is the international socialist remembrance of the first of May massacre of Chicago workers in 1886 who were striking for an 8-hour day.
MAY 5: Cinco de Mayo (The Battle of Puebla) - The invading French army was defeated in the state of Puebla on the 5th of May, 1862. Although the victory was short-lived, this victory has come to symbolise the eventual withdrawal of foreign interests from Mexico. This day is therefore a national holiday with special significance in Puebla...More >>
MAY 10: Mother's Day (Día de la Madre) - Although this day is celebrated in many other countries on the second Sunday in May, this day is fixed in the Mexican calendar. If it happens to fall on a weekday, people work a half-day and celebrate the rest of the day with their mothers.
SEP 1: Presidential Address to the Nation (Informe Presidencial) - The president of Mexico gives a state-of-the-nation speech to the legislature.
SEP 15–16: Mexican Independence Day (Dia de la Independencia Mexicana) - Mexico celebrates its declaration of independence from Spain in 1810. The night of September 15, marks "El Grito," a dramatic reenactment of revolutionary Father Hidalgo's call for his fellow Mexicans to join the uprising, which takes place at city halls across the country. On September 16, military parades are held in almost every Mexican city...More >>
OCT 12: Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) - Columbus, or Cristóbal Colón, first set eyes on American soil on this day in 1492, thus exposing the Americas to their fate of exploration, conversion and exploitation. Whereas this day is known as Columbus Day in other places, it is known as "The Day of the Race" in Mexico and is an opportunity to celebrate the mix of native and Spanish blood inherent in its history. The term La Raza was coined by the philosopher Antonio Caso in 1918 and the day was renamed Día de la Raza ten years later.
NOV 1-2: Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) - The most colorful annual festival on the Mexican calendar, commemorating departed loved ones. During this festival, the dead have divine permission to visit friends and relatives on earth. The living welcome the souls of the departed with offerings incorporating their favorite foods and beverages, as well as marigolds and candles...More >>
NOV 20: Mexican Revolution Day (Dia de la Revolucion Mexicana) - This day marks the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, with parades and celebrations occurring throughout the country.
DEC 12: Virgin of Guadalupe Day (Día de La Virgen de Guadalupe) - This day marks the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's first indigenous saint. The story goes that one day in December of 1531, a christianised indígena named Juan Diego saw an image of the Virgin on top of a hill in what is now Mexico City. She instructed him to tell the Bishop to build a church on top of the hill. The bishop promptly ignored Juan Diego's story, but on December 12th, the Virgin reappeared to Juan Diego. This time, she told him to collect roses from the top of the hill. When he returned to the bishop with his cape filled with roses, both were astonished, because as Juan Diego emptied his cape, an image of the Virgin was left behind. The cape still hangs in the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, built near the spot where the miracles occurred, and on the anniversary of the second miracle, pilgrims converge on the area in a mass celebration.
DEC 16–24: Posadas - Processions recreating Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem, in which people holding candles go door to door to seek shelter. Festivities include piñatas, Christmas caroling and special foods and sweets.
DEC 24: Christmas (Navidad) - This time of year is full of celebrations from the posada to Los Reyes Magos, but the most important part of Navidad happens on La Noche Buena (24th December). It's a time for people to get together and exchange presents. At midnight there's a big meal, which is when the celebrations really begin. The whole period is colourful and decorative, with decorations from Christmas trees to nacimientos.
DEC 28: Innocents Day (Día de los Inocentes) - This day commemorates the child massacre perpetrated by King Herod on learning of the birth of Jesus. These deaths of innocents are nowadays represented by people playing tricks on their friends, family and colleagues as on April Fool's Day. The tricksters reveal themselves to their victims with the words "inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar", which mean "innocent little dove, that you let yourself be fooled".