50 Mexican traditions, holidays & festivals to discover & embrace

Understanding a different country requires more than just learning the language and moving there — here are the Mexican traditions you can’t miss.

If you’re learning Spanish, you’ve probably already realized that learning a new language will take you much farther than the classroom. Beyond learning about Spanish grammar and vocabulary, you’ll also have to learn about a new country's traditions, customs, and culture if you hope to communicate effectively.

If you’re learning Spanish, you will invariably encounter Mexican culture, as Mexico is the Spanish-speaking country with the most speakers. Although Spanish culture has a significant impact on Mexican traditions, Mexico combines indigenous religions and practices with the European influence of the colonial period.

This results in countless beautiful and unique traditions that you’ll only find in Mexico, and that you definitely don’t want to miss when you visit the country.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important Mexican holidays, festivals and traditions.

Mexican traditions recognized by UNESCO

Mexican traditions are so unique that many of them are recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage. Here are some of the most noteworthy Mexican traditions recognized by UNESCO:

Mexican holidays and festivals example: Day of the dead parade in Mexico.

Día de los Muertos — Day of the Dead (declared in 2008)

Celebrated: November 2

You might be used to honoring the dead in a somber way. After all, missing a loved one who’s passed away is extremely sad, so paying respects to them typically isn’t a time to rejoice — unless you’re in Mexico.

Mexico’s Día de los Muertos celebration is a vibrant and colorful tradition that can help reframe your relationship with your friends and family who have passed. It is believed that, on this day alone, the spirits of the dead can come back to Earth, giving us a unique chance to spend time with them once again. So, think about it: if you had a chance to spend more time with a friend or family member, wouldn’t you want to throw a party and have a fabulous time?

That’s the idea behind Día de los Muertos celebrations. That’s why people set up altars with photos, fruits, flowers, food, some of their favorite items, and even some alcoholic drinks like tequila or mezcal! Setting up their altar in a colorful and personalized way will ensure they have a pleasant time when they come back to visit, if only briefly.

The weeks leading up to Día de los Muertos are a great time to visit Mexico. The weather is great, and you’ll also enjoy unique decorations on the streets of cities like Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca. Deep-orange marigolds known as cempazúchitl are central to this season, so you’ll see them beautifully decorating the streets. Remember, though, Día de los Muertos isn’t Mexican Halloween, although the holiday is also commonly celebrated in Mexico.

Los voladores de Papantla — Dance of the Papantla Flyers (declared in 2009)

Celebrated: June 15

Imagine four men, spiraling down from a 30-meter pole (almost 100 feet!), mesmerizing onlookers as they imitate the flight of birds. This is the Dance of the Papantla Flyers, a breathtaking ritual to thank the gods for fertility and harvest.

Originating from the Totonac people of Veracruz, this ancient ceremony combines courage, grace, and spirituality, showcasing harmony between man and the universe. Although it is traditionally performed in the town of Papantla in Veracruz, voladores de Papantla are performed all over Mexico at fairs and city squares on special occasions.

Tradiciones de la Peña de Bernal — Peña de Bernal Traditions (declared in 2009)

Celebrated: May 1st

La Peña de Bernal is the world’s third-largest monolith, after the Rock of Gibraltar and Brazil’s Sugarloaf Mountain. Every year, the Otomí-Chichimeca people who live in the town of Bernal climb to the top of the Peñal, carrying large crosses with them to pray for rain and divine protection. Upon their return, the city welcomes the pilgrims with a party, referred to as la fiesta de Santa Cruz, that includes dances, prayers, singing, and fireworks.

La Pirekua purépecha — Purepecha Song (declared in 2010)

Celebrated: Year-round, but especially on Purépecha New Year (February 1st) and the Festival of the Purépecha Race (October 17 and 18).

This musical performance from the p'urhépecha communities in Michoacán consists of songs, poetry, and dance. These performances originated in the 16th century as a blend of Native American, European, and African traditions, including many sounds and melodies imported from outside Michoacán.

This traditional music is better appreciated by… well, listening to it! So, here’s an informative video from UNESCO that showcases several Pirekua purépecha performances and features a helpful narrator, sharing more details about the music and its cultural significance.

Danza de los Parachicos — Parachico Dance (declared in 2010)

Celebrated: January 15-23

In the colonial city of Chiapa de Corzo, the Danza de los Parachicos takes place every January. This vibrant celebration fills the streets with music, dance, and elaborate costumes as a tribute to the patron saints, combining indigenous and Spanish influences. Dancers, or Parachicos, wear masks of bearded Europeans carrying maracas, creating a festive atmosphere that unites the community and celebrates their shared heritage.

Gastronomía mexicana — Mexican cuisine (declared in 2010)

Celebrated: Year-round!

Mexican cuisine is world-famous for its tacos, guacamole, and even beverages like margaritas and micheladas. However, did you know this was the first cuisine to be recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (along with French cuisine) in 2010? This shows just how valued Mexico’s rich cultural traditions are all over the world, with complex dishes like mole, tamales, and chile relleno.

We wrote an entire article dedicated exclusively to Mexico’s culinary traditions, so make sure to check it out for an in-depth review of Mexico’s traditional and contemporary landscape. Be warned, though: do not read without a snack!

Mariachi — Mariachi (declared in 2011)

Celebrated: Year-round, although January 21 is Mariachi Day.

Mariachi music is, simply put, the heart and soul of Mexico. With its trumpets, violins, and guitars, this vibrant music genre tells passionate love stories, often infused with nationalism. Originating from Jalisco, mariachi bands now symbolize Mexican culture worldwide, bringing people together with their lively performances and passionate songs.

When you visit Mexico, you can expect to see mariachi bands at some of the more traditional restaurants — just give them a good tip, and they’ll serenade you tableside. You may also hire a mariachi band for special occasions, like a wedding, birthday or, any party, really! There are very few occasions when a mariachi band isn’t a welcome addition.

If you’re curious as to what mariachi sounds like, check out the following song by Luis Miguel, one of Mexico’s most famous singers of all time:

Charrería — Mexican rodeo (declared in 2016)

Celebrated: Year-round, although September 14 is Charro Day

Charrería, Mexico’s only national sport, is an exhilarating display of horsemanship that dates back to the 16th century. It involves a series of equestrian events that test the skill and bravery of the charros (cowboys), including roping and riding. Beyond the competition, charrería celebrates Mexican cowboy culture and heritage, glorifying the way of life of Mexican people hundreds of years ago.

Check out the following TEDx talk for a demonstration as well as an illustrative talk on the complete background of this fascinating sport:

Indigenous Mexican Traditions

Mexico is an incredibly diverse country with dozens of pre-Columbian indigenous communities. According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), there are 68 indigenous communities and 364 indigenous languages in the country. Indigenous people in Mexico represent around 10% of the population or about 14 million people.

These are some of the largest indigenous cultures in Mexico:


Population: ~3 million

Nahuas are the largest indigenous group in Mexico, descendants of the Aztecs. Their language, Nahuatl, is also Mexico's most common indigenous language, with about 1.5 million speakers. They have colorful celebrations, like those dedicated to the corn harvest, and a strong culinary heritage that has shaped Mexican cuisine. The Nahua people are also skilled in creating amate paper and intricate beadwork — crafts that embody their artistic heritage. This culture values community, earth, and the preservation of their ancient traditions.


Population: ~10 million

The Maya civilization spans the entire Yucatán Peninsula and the neighboring countries of Belize and Guatemala. Known for their achievements in astronomy, writing, and architecture, the Maya continue to celebrate their heritage through traditional ceremonies, language, and dress. The Mayans' deep respect for nature and their ancestral knowledge offer a fascinating insight into one of the world’s most sophisticated ancient cultures still thriving today.


Population: ~500,000

The Zapotec culture is indigenous to the valleys of Oaxaca. With a history of architectural achievements like Monte Albán, the Zapotec people maintain a close connection to their ancestors through language, traditional dress, and festivals.

You can taste Zapotec culture by attending the Guelaguetza festival, where Zapotec dances and crafts are proudly displayed. The Zapotecs are also known for their weaving and pottery, which tell stories of their heritage.


Population: ~450,000

The Mixtec culture is known for its exceptional goldsmithing and codices that narrate their history and cosmology. Inhabiting the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Puebla, the Mixtecs deeply respect their land, honoring it via agricultural rituals and vibrant textiles. Today, their traditional celebrations blend indigenous and Catholic beliefs and showcase a community deeply connected to its roots and ancestors.


Population: ~600,000

The P'urhépecha is an indigenous culture with a rich history in Michoacán. Their language, unique and unrelated to others in Mexico, carries the soul of their traditions. Known for their incredible craftsmanship in copper and woodworking, vibrant community festivals, and colorful celebrations of the Day of the Dead, the P'urhépecha have a strong spirit that is a testament to their enduring culture and deep pride.

Visit the quaint town of Patzcuaro next time you visit Mexico, as this stunning town built on a hilly island in a lake will showcase the P'urhépecha culture like nothing else.

Guelaguetza — Oaxacan Traditional Holiday

Celebrated: July

The Guelaguetza festival in Oaxaca is a phenomenal display of indigenous culture and creation, showcasing traditional dances, music, and attire from the state’s diverse communities. The festival’s name means “reciprocal exchanges of gifts and services” in Zapotec, showing why this event strengthens communal bonds while celebrating the cultural heritage of the indigenous communities of Oaxaca. If you visit during this time, you’ll find a series of street performances, street markets, and a magnificent display of local traditions!

Noche de Rábanos — Night of the Radishes

Celebrated: December 23rd

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one of the quirkiest festivals in Mexico. Night of the Radishes, as its name implies, is a celebration in Oaxaca during which people make elaborate sculptures from radishes that represent Mexican folklore, religion, and daily life.

This event is a competition where artists and farmers showcase their creativity and talent, attracting people from all over the country to see these mind-boggling works of art. On this day, radishes aren’t just vegetables but true pieces of art, making this holiday a testament to the agricultural bounty of Oaxaca and the imaginative spirit of its people.

Religious Mexican traditions

Mexico is a very religious country. According to the latest census, just under 80% of Mexicans identify as Catholic. If you add other Christian religions like Protestants and Evangelicals, the figure rises to about 90%. That means virtually everyone holds similar religious beliefs, so religious traditions are extremely important.

Most of these traditions and festivities center around gathering family members and close friends. And if you’re not religious, do not worry. Many non-religious Mexicans consider themselves “culturally Catholic,” meaning that they’ll participate in these celebrations without minding the religious aspect.

Mexico has the second highest rate of baptisms in the world.

Bautizos — Baptisms

Celebrated: 6–12 months old

These ceremonies aren’t just religious milestones but rather significant family events, marking a child’s introduction to the Christian faith. In fact, these are so common in Mexico that it’s the second country with the most baptisms in the world, second only to the Philippines. The ceremony in a church involves sprinkling holy water on the child’s head, signifying purification and rebirth.

Families celebrate this milestone with a gathering, where godparents, chosen to guide the child in their spiritual journey, play a crucial role. The celebration is often followed by a large meal at a venue, a family member’s backyard, or a restaurant, often turning into a long party. Close friends and family members are invited to attend both the religious event and the after-party, and non-Christians are welcome to attend the religious event and observe or just attend the after-party if they prefer.

Primera Comunión — First Communion

Celebrated: 7–12 years old

A child’s First Communion is an extremely important milestone in Mexican culture. It symbolizes the child’s first acceptance of the body of Christ through the Eucharist. This ceremony represents a rite of passage for children in Mexico, deepening the child’s commitment to the Catholic faith.

As with baptisms, first communions are highly social events, as the mass is followed by a festive gathering. As always, extended family members and close friends are invited, and these festivities usually start with a late lunch and end well after dinner.

Confirmación — Confirmation

Celebrated: 14–16 years old

This is another significant milestone in every Catholic’s life, as it is the time when teenagers confirm their decision to commit to the Catholic Church’s teachings. These are usually celebrated when the children are 14–16 years old and are seen as an important coming-of-age ceremony.

Confirmación is celebrated with a special mass, which involves a ritual of laying on hands and anointing with chrism. Families celebrate this milestone with gatherings and — you guessed it — big parties after the ceremony

Semana Santa — Holy Week

Celebrated: Between mid-March and mid-April

Holy Week is observed with profound reverence in Mexico, commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This week features processions, reenactments of the Via Crucis (the Way of the Cross), and dramatic representations of the Last Supper and Crucifixion.

This is a period of deep reflection for the most devout Catholics, making it a great time to spend time at home with the family. School is out, and most jobs tend to have Good Friday off. However, this is also one of the peak vacation periods in Mexico, as many people take advantage of this time off to see family and travel to vacation destinations like Cancún or Los Cabos.

Fiesta de San Mateo — Saint Matthew’s Party

Celebrated: September 20

Celebrated in the town of Cholula, Puebla, this festival is an homage to Saint Matthew, combining religious ceremonies with indigenous rituals. This event includes traditional dances, parades, and the unique “voladores de Papantla” performance. It encapsulates the fusion of pre-Hispanic and Christian traditions, showcasing the strength of indigenous cultural practices within the contemporary religious framework in Mexico.

El Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe — The Traditional Pilgrimage to The Virgin of Guadalupe

Celebrated: December 12

The pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is one of Mexico's most important religious events, drawing millions of devotees each December 12th. This tradition honors Mexico’s patron saint, la Virgen de Guadalupe, who is believed to have appeared to Saint Juan Diego in 1531 on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City. Her image, miraculously imprinted on Juan Diego’s cloak, became a powerful symbol of faith and identity.

Pilgrims from across the country, many on foot, undertake this journey to pay respect to la Virgen as a profound expression of faith and devotion. This event is a moving testament to her significance in Mexican spirituality and cultural identity. However, la Virgen’s importance transcends religion, as she embodies the combination of Mexican and Spanish cultures. She is seen as the “Mother of Mexico,” providing comfort and hope to her people.

Noche Buena — Christmas Eve

Celebrated: December 24

If you ever have the chance to celebrate Christmas in Mexico, you might be surprised to learn that most celebrations happen on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. This is a very special time for everyone in Mexico, as families get together to have a big dinner, often consisting of turkey, sweet potatoes, tamales, cod stew, apple salad, and buñuelos for dessert. Gifts are often exchanged, and many families also partake in a white elephant game, although spending time with family is the main focus of this day.

Some of the most religious families in Mexico also attend the Vigil Mass, the mass service at midnight on Christmas Eve — officially the beginning of Christmas Day.

Posadas — Christmas parties

Celebrated: December 16 – 24

Posadas start nine days before Christmas, representing the time Mary and Joseph spent going from inn to inn, searching for a place to stay before Mary gave birth. Each of the nine days represents a different value: humility, strength, detachment, charity, trust, justice, purity, joy, and generosity. So, families traditionally come together to sing Christmas songs and celebrate the night's theme.

This tradition is actually a great example of a combination of indigenous Mexican practices and European religion. In pre-Columbian times, the Aztecs celebrated Panquetzaliztli, a 20-day celebration of Huitzilopochtli, the God of the Sun, which coincidentally culminated on December 19. After the conquest, the Spanish church instituted the posadas tradition to make Catholicism more relatable to these Aztec religious practices.

Today, posadas refer to any party or gathering happening before Christmas, both religious and non-religious. It is customary for schools and workplaces to organize at least one posada in the weeks before Christmas to create bonds and celebrate the holidays. Note that posadas typically only include people you wouldn’t normally spend Christmas with, so you wouldn’t host a posada for your family members.

Día de los Reyes Magos — Epiphany

Celebrated: January 6

The importance of Epiphany varies from country to country, and even within states in Mexico. In some states like Puebla and San Luis Potosí, this day is a major holiday, especially for children, who leave a shoe on their window sill in exchange for presents.

In most of the country, however, el día de los reyes magos is observed simply by eating a rosca de reyes with friends and family. This oval-shaped pastry includes dried fruits and sugar and is typically sliced and served like cake. Coffee, hot chocolate, and atole are common companion beverages.

The special part about rosca de reyes, though, is that a Baby Jesus figurine is hidden somewhere in the pastry. If your slice happens to have the figurine, then you’re supposed to host a party with tamales on Día de la Candelaria (February 2)!


Celebrated: December 12 – January 6

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably realized something by now: Mexicans love to celebrate and throw parties. That’s why the term Guadalupe Reyes was coined to refer to the holiday season, which runs from December 12 through January 6.

This is a period of mass celebrations around the country, and almost everyone uses this time to relax, celebrate, and enjoy friends and family. So, even if there aren’t too many bank holidays during this period, you can expect everyone’s productivity to plummet. This is something to remember if you’re learning business Spanish and will be working in Mexico over the holidays.

Mexican festivals and celebrations

Although Mexico isn’t a particularly nationalistic country on a global scale, most Mexicans are extremely proud of their country and heritage. The month of September is especially patriotic, as you’ll see countless decorations in public in preparation for Mexican Independence Day. Here are some of the most noteworthy national holidays.

Fiestas Patrias – National Celebrations

Celebrated: September 16

Mexican Independence Day involves a couple of days of intense celebrations and several weeks of festive, cheerful, and nationalistic pride. Although the 16th of September is the official Independence Day, the big celebration actually happens on the night of the 15th, known as “Grito de Dolores” or “Grito de la Independencia.” This commemorates the night when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the father of the Mexican Independence movement, rang a church bell in the middle of the night as a call of arms that kicked off the independence.

Today, the President of Mexico recreates this from the balcony of the Presidential Palace in Mexico City, often to crowds of hundreds of thousands of people and with millions of televised spectators across the country. The President yells “¡Viva ____!” listing the most important people from the independence movement and culminating with “¡Viva México!” three times.

Here’s a video demonstration of a recent Grito de Dolores:

Carnavales – Carnivals

Celebrated: The week leading up to Lent (February/March)

A carnaval is a dazzling celebration filled with parades, costumes, and dancing, particularly famous in the coastal cities of Mazatlán and Veracruz. Although each city that celebrates it has its own traditions, the essence of carnaval features elaborate floats, masked balls, and street parties, showcasing a blend of indigenous and European traditions.

Día de la Revolución — Mexican Revolution Day

Celebrated: 3rd Monday of November

Mexican Revolution Day marks the start of the 1910 revolution against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. This was the world’s first social revolution, as it preceded those in Russia (1917), China (1949), and others that followed. The revolutionaries, mostly peasants from the rural countryside, successfully defeated the oppressive Díaz regime and ended its 35-year rule. Some Revolution leaders include Francisco Madero, Alvaro Obregón, Emiliano Zapata, and Pancho Villa.

Today, this Mexican holiday is celebrated with parades, ceremonies, and reenactments that honor the brave revolutionaries who fought for these social and economic reforms. Schools and communities across Mexico commemorate this day with patriotic programs, speeches, and presentations reflecting on the revolution’s impact on Mexican society.

Día de los Santos Inocentes — Mexican April Fool’s Day

Celebrated: December 28

You might be used to celebrating April Fool’s Day in… well, April. However, the day to make pranks in Mexico is actually December 28, right before New Year’s. This is a day of pranks in remembrance of the biblical story of King Herod’s decree to kill all newborn boys. It has evolved into a lighthearted tradition where people play practical jokes on each other, and the media often publish false stories. It’s a day filled with laughter and fun, showcasing the Mexican people’s love for humor and camaraderie. Don’t get mad if your friends play a prank on you!

Feria Nacional de San Marcos — San Marcos National Fair

Celebrated: April – May

The Feria Nacional de San Marcos, held annually in Aguascalientes City, is one of Mexico’s oldest and most traditional fairs, dating back to the 19th century. It features cultural events, concerts, rodeos, bullfights, and a colorful artisan market, attracting visitors from all over the country.

The highlight is the “corrida de toros” (bullfighting), which is a historical practice that involves a matador (a bull killer) repeatedly taunting and eventually killing a bull. Many animal rights activists have protested this practice, and several states have already outlawed bullfighting.

Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara — Guadalajara International Book Fair

Celebrated: Late November to early December

The Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, colloquially known as FIL, is the largest book fair in the Spanish-speaking world, attracting publishers, authors, and readers globally. It celebrates literature and culture, offering activities like book signings, academic discussions, and cultural performances. This event not only promotes reading and publishing but also fosters dialogue and cultural understanding across cultures, highlighting the power of books to connect societies.

Festival Internacional Cervantino (FIC) — International Cervantino Festival

Celebrated: October

Popularly referred to as El Cervantino, this festival is one of Latin America's most important cultural events. Held in Guanajuato, El Cervantino celebrates the legacy of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who drew artists and performers from all over the world. Guests will be able to appreciate countless art forms, including dance, painting, sculptures, music, cinematography, opera, and much more.

Family and life cycle traditions in Mexico

Family holds a central place in Mexican culture, and certain milestones are unmissable family events. If you marry into a Mexican family or choose to start your own in the country, you’ll definitely end up celebrating one (or all) of the following traditions for yourself or your family members:

Mother celebrates her daughters 15th birthday.

Quinceañera or XV Años — Sweet fifteen

Celebrated: On 15th birthday

A Quinceañera marks a girl’s transition into womanhood at 15. It’s a deeply rooted tradition in Mexican culture, celebrated with a religious ceremony and an evening reception. The event includes the presentation of a doll to symbolize childhood and high-heeled shoes to signify stepping into adulthood. This celebration isn’t just a lavish party, but a meaningful rite of passage that symbolizes a significant milestone in a young woman’s readiness to take on new responsibilities.

Bodas — Weddings

Celebrated: Upon marriage

If you’ve never been to a Mexican wedding, you must brace yourself for what’s to come. Mexican weddings are usually three-day affairs, with massive parties and extreme displays of joy that blend religious customs with local cultural traditions.

Generally, Mexican weddings start with a Catholic mass where the couple exchange vows, followed by a lively party with music, dance, and lots and lots of food. A unique Mexican wedding tradition is the “lazo del amor,” a symbolic lasso placed around the couple to signify their union.

But that’s not all; Mexican weddings are long and extremely fun events. That’s why we put together an entire guide to Mexican wedding traditions, so check it out to learn more!

Piñatas — Birthday parties

Celebrated: Yearly, on birthday

You’ve probably heard of a piñata before, the papier-mâché figure shaped into stars, animals, or famous characters and stuffed with candies and toys. Blindfolded participants take turns hitting the piñata until it breaks, releasing the treasures stuffed within. This activity is an essential part of any child’s birthday party, to the point where piñatas are synonymous with a child’s birthday party!

Birthday parties in Mexico are typically held in the birthday kid’s house, a family member’s house, or a rented venue. They always include a piñata and music, dances, and games. They sometimes include entertainment from magicians, clowns, or a live music band. Kids usually take “bolos” with them on their way out, which are bags full of goodies as a way to thank them for coming.

Día de las Madres — Mother’s Day

Celebrated: May 10

While Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May in the United States, Mexico has a fixed date for the holiday: May 10. This is an extremely important day in Mexico, as the role of mothers in Mexican culture cannot be overstated. Although every day is a great day to show your mom that you appreciate her, this is the one day of the year when you absolutely cannot miss an opportunity to tell her how much she means to you.

People in Mexico typically show appreciation to their mothers by giving them flowers, taking them out to eat, and giving them presents. Schools often host events where children perform songs and dances for their mothers, making it a day of celebration, gratitude, and familial bonds. And don’t forget about celebrating your grandma as well! Although grandparents have their own holiday, it’s important to celebrate grandmas on this day, since they too are mothers.

Día del Padre — Father’s Day

Celebrated: June 20

Again, while Father’s Day is on the third Sunday of June in the United States, Mexico has a fixed date: June 20th. It’s a day of appreciation when families express their gratitude to fathers for everything they do for the family. There aren’t many specific Father’s Day traditions, so just try doing something special for your dad on this day!

Día del Niño — Children’s Day

Celebrated: April 30

Although International Children’s Day is celebrated in August, Mexico has had its own Children’s Day tradition since 1924, which is celebrated on April 30. This day is dedicated to appreciating the joy and importance of children in Mexican society. Schools organize parties, games, and activities, allowing children to be the center of attention with performances, candy, and presents.

Día del Abuelo — Grandparent’s Day

Celebrated: August 28

Día del Abuelo honors grandparents by celebrating them for their wisdom, love, and contributions to the family. In Mexican culture, grandparents often play an active role in raising their grandchildren, offering guidance, care, and emotional support. This day allows grandchildren to express their gratitude and honor their grandparents’ contributions.

Mexican traditional arts and crafts

Mexican artistry is known all over the world for its colorful perspectives and intricate designs. From the delicate beauty of the talavera Poblana to the mind-boggling designs of alebrijes, these crafts represent Mexico’s history and identity. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures.


Imagine creatures from your wildest dreams, with vibrant colors and a mix of animal features — that’s alebrijes for you! Originating from the imagination of Mexican artists, these fantastical figures are carved from paper or wood and painted in bright, eye-catching colors.

They’re more than just decorations; they’re symbols of creativity and personal expression. So, next time you see an alebrije, remember it represents Mexico's infinite imagination and cultural richness. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to dream up your own fantastical creature!

Barro cocido — Baked clay

Barro cocido might, in theory, be nothing but baked clay. But in practice, this nimble material is transformed into beautiful pottery and sculptures, thanks to this ancient technique of baking clay to perfection. Whether it’s pots, plates, or decorative items, each piece carries the warmth of the hands that made it. It’s a reminder of the beauty in simplicity and the enduring relationship between people and the earth.

Talavera Poblana — Pueblan pottery

When it comes to the talavera poblana, every tile tells a story. This exquisite ceramic art from Puebla is known for its intricate designs and vibrant blue hues. Each piece is hand-painted with patterns that blend indigenous and Spanish influences, be it a vase, a plate, or even a mural. So, when you come across some talavera poblana, you’ll know that what you’re seeing is the result of a cultural blend with hundreds of years of history.


It is said that when you wrap yourself in the warmth of a sarape, you’ll feel the spirit of Mexico. Also known as zarape or jorongo, these colorful, striped blankets are iconic symbols of Mexican culture. Originating from Northern Mexico, sarapes are known for their bright colors and intricate patterns, often seen draped over shoulders at festivals or adorning homes. They represent the colorfulness and artistry of Mexico, making them perfect souvenirs for tourists as they carry the essence of the warm and fun Mexican spirit.


Platería is shimmering silver from the heart of Mexico, one of the country’s most historically important resources. This exquisite silverwork, especially from towns like Taxco, showcases the unmatched skill of Mexican artisans. From jewelry to utensils, each piece is a work of art, reflecting centuries of tradition and the natural beauty of Mexico’s landscape. Wearing or using platería is more than a statement of style; it’s a reminder of the beauty of the natural resources found in Mexico and the skill and artistry of its jewelry.

Music and dance traditions of Mexico

Music and dance are the heart and soul of Mexican culture. As you’ve probably realized by now, if there’s something Mexican people like, it’s a good party — and you can’t have a good party without music and dance. From the soulful Mariachi to the exhilarating Jarabe Tapaío, Mexican music somehow embodies joy, sorrow, and celebration all at once, inviting everyone to feel the rhythm and connect with Mexican culture. Here are some types of Mexican music that you can’t miss:

Jarabe Tapatío — Mexican Hat Dance

Jarabe Tapatío is probably what you’d think of if you were to picture yourself at a Mexican fiesta. This folk dance is a playful courtship dance where the man is tasked with wooing the woman as they both dance around a sombrero. Its lively rhythm and colorful attitude capture the spirit of Mexico, making it an unforgettable show.

Next time you visit Mexico, make sure you include a stop in Guadalajara to experience some authentic Jarabe Tapatío dances, especially if you can visit the town of Tlaquepaque. Until then, take a look at the following video to start getting excited about your next trip:

Jarana Yucateca

Moving on to the Yucatán Peninsula, the jarana is a lively dance that represents the rhythms of Yucatán. With quick feet and swirling dresses, dancers move to the upbeat melodies of this traditional dance, celebrating the Peninsula’s Mayan and Spanish heritage. The Jarana Yucateca is a joyful expression of identity and community, where every step and note brings people closer. Make sure to attend a jarana performance next time you visit Mérida, Cancún or Tulum, and let the music sweep you away to a world of rhythm, color, and unity.

Until then, here’s a video of a lively performance to whet your appetite.

La Danza de los Viejitos — The Dance of the Little Old Men

Coming back to Central Mexico in the state of Michoacán, La Danza de los Viejitos is a dance that will charm you with its humor and significance. It’s almost exactly what it sounds like: it’s performed by dancers disguised as playful, old men, who suddenly transform from frail to vigorous, leaping energetically to the music.

Thisdance is beautiful satire, symbolizing the wisdom and vitality of the elderly. As you watch or partake in La Danza de los Viejitos, you’re embracing a celebration of life, age, and the spirit of the Purepecha people of Michoacán.

El huapango

El huapango comes from the Huasteca region in the eastern states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro and Guanajuato. This genre features intricate footwork and powerful violin, guitar, and jarana melodies. More than a dance, el huapango is an artistic duel, where performers express passion, skill, and cultural pride.

La Bamba

No matter where you’re from, you’ve probably heard this classic song before. However, what you might not know is that what you’ve likely heard is actually a cover of a Mexican song by an unknown artist. Originating from Veracruz, this folk song combines indigenous Mexican, European, and African cultures. The word “Bamba” is believed to come from the Republic of Congo, as it was the name of an old duchess in the old Kingdom of Kongo.

This song celebrates freedom and community, inviting everyone to join and dance, regardless of skill. No matter how well you can dance, you can easily incorporate yourself into the dance and have a good time. But if you want to see how the pros do it, check out this performance from Veracruz:

Danza del Venado — The Deer Dance

La Danza del Venado, or the Deer Dance, is a captivating and profound ritual performed by the indigenous Yaqui and Mayo tribes of Northwestern Mexico, particularly in Sonora. This dance reenacts the hunt of the deer, a symbol of grace and spiritual significance, portraying the delicate balance between hunters and nature. Dancers wear elaborate costumes, including antlers to embody the deer, while others represent the hunters.

The rhythmic beats of drums and rattles accompany the dance, creating an immersive experience that honors the sacredness of life and the respect for the earth. La Danza del Venado creates a profound connection to nature and the spiritual world, offering insight into Mexico's indigenous cultures' deep-rooted beliefs and values.

Fiesta de Santa Cecilia

Celebrated: November 22nd

Mexican people are so passionate about music, in fact, that they have a whole festival dedicated to it. La Fiesta de Santa Cecilia honors the patron saint of musicians, Santa Cecilia. In Mexico, this day is especially vibrant in areas with strong musical heritage, such as Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City, where the mariachi bands gather to perform. The celebration emphasizes how important music is in Mexican culture, bringing together the entire community to revel in the joy of music.

FAQs about Mexican holidays and traditions

Do Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Yes and no. Although this is the most popular Mexican holiday in the United States and around the world, the truth is that an overwhelming majority of Mexicans don’t celebrate it.

This holiday commemorates Mexico’s victory against the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Although the French eventually did defeat the Mexican army in what was known as the Second French Intervention, the battle in Puebla represented a very big win for the Mexican army, as they defeated the world’s most powerful army at the time. This is why Cinco de Mayo is a source of pride for people from Puebla, although people from the rest of the country don’t really celebrate it.

When is Mexican Independence Day?

Mexican Independence Day is on September 16, although the main celebration happens the night before on September 15. Millions of Mexicans will watch “El Grito” on television, while hundreds of thousands will watch it in person in Mexico City. In this event, the president will recite the traditional “Grito de Dolores” from the Presidential Palace’s balcony, concluding with passionately proclaiming ‘¡Viva México!” three times. This is an excellent time to be in Mexico and enjoy a fun and patriotic Mexican fiesta.

Is Thanksgiving celebrated in Mexico?

Thanksgiving is not traditionally celebrated in Mexico. However, the younger generations have picked up this holiday from their northern neighbors, with “Friendsgiving” becoming more and more popular. If you celebrate Thanksgiving and find yourself in Mexico during this holiday, don’t hesitate to host a Thanksgiving party and invite your Mexican friends — no Mexican would ever turn down an excuse for a good meal and a little celebration!

What are the three most popular holidays in Mexico?

The three most popular holidays in Mexico are:

  • September 16: Día de la Independencia (Independence Day)
  • November 2: Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
  • December 25: Navidad (Christmas Day)

Experience the authenticity of Mexican traditions

Now that you’ve learned all about traditions in Mexico, you’ll be much more prepared to appreciate the beauty and historical significance of Mexican culture next time you visit. Although visiting the tourist hotspots of Cancún and Los Cabos is great, you can now use your new knowledge about Mexican festivities to enjoy a different, more authentic side of Mexico.

Another thing you can do to maximize your time in Mexico is improve your Spanish. In addition to online and in-person Spanish lessons, we have a completely free Spanish blog where we constantly publish helpful cultural and grammar blogs to help you improve your Spanish. Some recent topics include when to use tú vs. usted and how to use the upside down question mark in Spanish. Neat, ¿no?


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