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Festivals and Events in Mexico

Mexicans celebrate their festivals with gusto, whether it is Guadalupe Day, Christmas or the feast of the local saint. September 15th and 16th are celebrated as Independence Days. In fact, there are some 5,000 to 6,000 celebrations every year, from spontaneous local events to formal nationwide celebrations.

An annual fiesta or festival is held in every Mexican city, town and village, to felicitate the patron saint of the area. The festival begins at the crack of dawn with a burst of fireworks and the peel of bells. The day is spent in merry-making and worshipping. The churches are decked with flowers and colourful streamers. Candles and prayers are offered. The markets and plazas are festive and crowded with revelers, who hold parades and pageants dance and gamble and feast. The festival culminates in a grand display of fireworks at night.

While the village fiestas center more around worship and religion compared to the larger towns and cities. Cockfights and amateur bullfights are held in the village fiesta. Professional bullfights, plays and fairs mark the city fiestas, where merry-makers ride Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds and shop at the colourful stalls. The junkets and revelry carry on all day.

December 12th is Guadalupe Day, Mexico’s most important holiday, in honour of the country’s patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe. The festival marks the day the Virgin is believed to have appeared as an Indian maiden on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City.

The lead-up to Christmas is acted out in nine ceremonies called posadas. People get together with their friends and relatives to act out the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. After the posadas, the children play a game called pinata. The pinata is an earthenware or papier-mache container filled with toys, candy and fruit. A pinata is suspended at a height and the children take it in turns to smash the pinata with a stick while blindfolded. There is a scramble for the loot when the pinata breaks.

The children have another treat on Twelfth Night, the twelfth day after Christmas when parents fill their shoes with gifts. They are showered with still more presents on the Feast of Epiphany. There are parties, parades, fiestas and bullfights on Candlemas Day.

New Years day is a major celebration all over Mexico; livestock fairs are held in provinces. Pets, livestock and domestic animals are honoured on the Feast of San Antonio Abad. Veracruz and Mazatlan have the biggest Pre-Lenten Carnivals. The Holy Week (Semana Santa) is Mexico’s biggest holiday.

Cuahuatemoc Day is celebrated with dances and ceremonies in Mexico City. There is a large fair in Guadalajara during the October Festival. The mariachis festival is also unforgettable.

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