Holidays are celebrations perfect for getting together with family and friends. Mexican public holidays are generally celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the country, whether it be with carnivals, festivals, or other traditional festivities.
Statutory holidays are the official holidays in Mexico as designated by the Federal Government. As of 2022, there are 10 stat holidays per year. These are generally observed at the national level, although some states celebrate additional holidays. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the statutory holidays in Mexico.
An Introduction to Holidays in Mexico
Mexico is home to a wide variety of thrilling and colorful holiday celebrations. From the annual Day of the Dead festival and traditional Christmas festivities to other important religious days observed throughout the year, there’s no shortage of opportunities for visitors to experience Mexican culture and traditions.
Here are all of the statutory public holiday dates for Mexico in 2023:
- January 1 – New Year’s Day – Año Nuevo
- February 5 – Constitution Day – Día de la Constitución
- February 24 – Flag Day – Día de la Bandera
- March 20 – Benito Juárez’s Birthday – Natalicio de Benito Juárez
- May 1 – Labor Day – Día del Trabajo
- September 16 – Independence Day – Día de la Independencia
- November 1 & 2 – Día de Muertos – Day of the Dead
- November 20 – Revolution Day – Día de la Revolución
- December 12 – Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe – Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe
- December 25 – Christmas Day – Navidad
Perhaps most remarkable are the nationally recognized holidays that are celebrated with parades, performances, and fireworks in cities across Mexico. For example, Independence Day (the Sixteenth of September) commemorates the country’s independence from Spanish rule, while Cinco de Mayo celebrates a significant win for Mexico over the French during the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
Whether it be Dia de Los Muertos or Las Posadas, visitors can expect spectacular music, dancing, and communal feasting on each of Mexico’s treasured holidays.
What is a “Puente” in Spanish
A “puente” or “bridge” is a long weekend in Mexico. In general, when a holiday doesn’t land on the weekend, the day closest (Monday or Friday) will be used as a rest day to extend the weekend in order to create a longer break.
The most common puentes in Mexico are those during Día de la Independencia and the one for Día del Trabajo. Additionally, the Mexican Constitution dictates that when a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the preceding Monday and/or Friday beforehand will be designated as a public holiday in order to create an extended weekend for celebration.
How are Holidays Typically Celebrated in Mexico?
Mexico is a country full of vibrant culture and customs, especially when it comes to holiday celebrations. Throughout the year, many holidays are honored in Mexico with colorful decorations, traditional music, and food. Depending on the holiday, special mass services may be held in churches, or people may attend parades and processions. Fireworks displays and dancing are often a big part of Mexican celebrations, while traditional meals such as tamales and mole are served in homes around the country.
Regardless of the holiday, Mexicans nationwide take part in honoring their rich culture and proud heritage by celebrating with enthusiasm each year.
Año Nuevo (New Years’ Eve)
Año Nuevo, or New Year’s Eve, is a special time in Mexico when families get together for festive celebrations full of traditional Mexican food, music, and colorful decorations. One of the most popular traditions during Año Nuevo is eating twelve grapes (which represent the 12 months of the year). You have to do this fast, and as you eat each grape, you get to make a wish or think of a resolution you have for the new year. Fireworks are sometimes lit up at midnight to bring good luck in the coming year. After that, family gatherings typically last until morning.
Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day)
Día de la Constitución, or Constitution Day, is celebrated in Mexico on February 5th every year. This day marks the publication of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 and is seen as an important date for Mexico’s history. On this day, Mexicans remember their freedoms and rights that were enshrined in the constitution over 100 years ago. To commemorate this day, government offices and schools have special ceremonies.
Sometimes you can see important monuments with special lights shining on them (green, white, and red lights like the colors of the flag), making them more beautiful.
Día de la Bandera (Flag Day)
Día de la Bandera (Flag Day) is an important holiday in Mexico, celebrated every February 24th to commemorate the Mexican flag. The president of Mexico established it in front of the Guerrero monument (a monument honoring Vicente Guerrero, a leading revolutionary general in the Mexican War of Independence) because he was the first to pledge allegiance to it in 1821. The colors on the flag are green, red, and white. The green represents victory and hope, red to pay tribute to national heroes in Mexico, and white for the unity of the country.
The holiday involves a variety of festivities and activities across Mexico, including parades where flag-bearers walk down the streets and special events at schools and government offices. Smaller celebratory events may range from school ceremonies that include singing the national anthem and speeches about the importance of patriotism.
In Mexico, Flag Day serves as a reminder of how culture, and the colors and symbols of the flag can contribute to a sense of national pride, unity, and comradery.
Natalicio de Benito Juárez (Benito Juárez’s birthday)
Every year, Mexico celebrates the birthday of its great hero and former President, Benito Juárez on the 21st of March. This national celebration is known as the Natalicio de Benito Juárez and takes place throughout the country.
Benito Juárez was a lawyer, educator, and member of the Oaxacan state legislature. Having a humble indigenous upbringing, he always fought for the rights of those who were never taken into account. He helped establish a democratic republic, and fought foreign occupation.
Benito Juarez also helped draft the Constitution of 1857 that extended rights to Mexican people.
The Natalicio de Benito Juarez helps re-energize people’s appreciation for this legendary individual and encourages them to strive for unity among the different cultures present in Mexico today.
Día del Trabajo (Labor Day)
Día del Trabajo (Labour Day) is an important day of recognition for hard-working individuals all over Mexico as well as a way to recognize the implementation of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. Every May 1st, people throughout the nation take a break from work and enjoy the day celebrating their accomplishments throughout the year.
Día de la Independencia (Independence Day)
Día de la Independencia, also known as Mexican Independence Day, is a national holiday every September 16th in Mexico. Something interesting here is that most of the celebrations take place the day before (on the 15th) when Mexicans gather for events such as flag ceremonies and traditional Hymns of the Mexican National Anthem across schools and public buildings.
El Grito is perhaps the most traditional aspect of this holiday. The president of the country (and the governors of each state) ring a bell and wave the Mexican flag as they yell ¡Viva México!
This celebration is one of particular importance and unity among Mexican citizens who feel pride in celebrating their heritage by thanking their ancestors for the pursuit of liberty. In addition to attending social gatherings such as parades, concerts, and theatrical presentations at city plazas, many families participate in joyful festivities over dinner parties or cookouts in parks or private homes around Mexico.
Every year in September, Día de la Independencia continues to be an unforgettable event that brings joy and identity to all memorable components of the beloved country of Mexico.
Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)
The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd. This colorful national celebration honors deceased loved ones with special festivities and traditional offerings such as altars decorated with photos, flowers, candles, and food.
A designated area known as an ‘ofrenda‘ may be made up of several altars, all dedicated to different family members who have passed away. The ofrenda often include pan de muerto (bread of the dead) as well as colorful calacas (skeletons or skulls) to represent death in an upbeat manner as honoring of the dead is considered a positive experience and not something to be feared or shunned.
As part of this joyous celebration, many Mexican families decorate their homes with cempasúchil, also known as marigolds, which are believed to help guide the lost spirits back to their families’ doors. Nowadays, it’s more and more common to see Day of the Dead parades where the schools of a town get together and dress up in colorful costumes, paint their faces with iconic symbols and elaborate makeup drawing from ancient symbolism. Although many foreigners decide to wear a costume for this holiday or paint their faces, this is not a typical way locals celebrate this tradition.
Día de la Revolución (Mexican Revolution Day)
Día de la Revolución (Mexican Revolution Day) is a national holiday celebrated in Mexico to commemorate the start of the Mexican Revolution on November 20th, 1910 that ended the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz.
Porfirio Diaz was a famous Mexican military outcast and political leader who served as president of Mexico for over 30 years. He achieved power by taking part in La Reforma, a civil war that broke out in 1857 when an alliance of conservatives and liberals overthrew the government. In 1876, Diaz declared himself president with support from both sides and began a long rule that lasted until 1910.
During this period, he sought to create economic stability in Mexico, promote foreign investment, construct railroads, and establish educational reforms. Unfortunately for Diaz, discontent among the people eventually led to organized revolts, which ultimately unseated him in 1911 following decades of his authoritarian rule. This marked the end of his rise to power and ignited the Mexican Revolution, which changed the course of Mexican history forever.
On this day, Mexicans across the country come together to celebrate the accomplishments of those involved in their nation’s fight for independence and to remember their importance in Mexico’s history. It is a day for education about this crucial part of Mexico’s national story — one that still reverberates today in many different aspects of culture and politics.
Celebrations typically include parades, speeches, and concerts featuring traditional Revolutionary-era songs. There may also be special ceremonies honoring those who fought during the Revolution.
Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe)
Every year, on December 12th, Mexicans around the world come together to celebrate the Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe). It is a day on which people celebrate the beliefs and values of this Virgin, particularly her kindness and humility. Many attend church services and take part in traditional religious activities.
In Mexico, la virgen de Guadalupe is similar to the Virgin Mary in that they both represent the mother of God. However, the idea of la virgen de Guadalupe has roots in indigenous beliefs about Tonanzin who was a goddess for the Aztecs. Actually, her name in Nahuatl means “our dear mother.” The idea of Tonantzin later morphed into Guadalupe after the arrival of the Spanish and is now revered as one of the most important religious figures in Mexico.
The whole celebration creates a close-knit community that supersedes cultural borders. In addition, many people visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City erected in honor of the virgin to pay their respects for her holiness and guidance.
Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe is truly a beautiful holiday that brings people of the catholic faith together to honor her.
Christmas Day (Navidad)
Navidad in Mexico is a festive time of colorful, vibrant parties. Traditional activities such as candle-lit processions, posadas, intricate nativity scenes, Spanish Christmas carols, and lively dances come to life over the holiday season. Christmas eve is usually spent preparing food, getting a piñata ready, and enjoying a big meal with loved ones. Firework displays are common as well.
While aspects like Santa Claus and Christmas trees have become a part of this Mexican holiday, many of the traditional festivities were derived from the country’s Spanish and indigenous roots. During Navidad in Mexico, Villancicos (traditional carols in Spanish) play while families gather around tables full of delicious food, sharing stories, laughter, and memories. Some common foods include pozole, tamales, enchiladas, and stuffed turkey (Pavo navideño)
Wrapping It Up
The holidays in Mexico are colorful, vibrant, and filled with tradition. From Día de Muertos to Navidad, and even Three Kings Day, each holiday has its own unique way of bringing families together to honor their culture and customs while forging new memories that will last a lifetime.
Whether you’re visiting Mexico or celebrating at home, these holidays offer an opportunity to connect with the country’s rich history and explore the diverse cultural traditions of this vibrant nation.
While this list covered public holidays in Mexico, it is by no means an exhaustive list of all holidays that are celebrated. If you want to learn more about Spanish holidays, browse through our online resources today.
Public Holidays in Mexico FAQ
Q: What are some of the widely celebrated holidays in Mexico?
A: Some of the widely celebrated holidays in Mexico are: Independence Day, the Day of the Dead, Carnival, and Christmas/New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Q: What are statutory holidays in Mexico?
A: Statutory holidays in Mexico are days designated by the government in which businesses must close and employees are entitled to a day off with pay.
Q: What are some of the civic holidays in Mexico?
A: Some of the civic holidays in Mexico are: Constitution Day, Benito Juarez’s Birthday, Labor Day, and Revolution Day.
Q: Are public holidays in Mexico the same every year?
A: While some holidays have a fixed date, others may vary depending on the day of the week they fall on. Therefore, the list of statutory holidays in Mexico may change from year to year.
Q: Will there be any new holidays in Mexico in 2022?
A: As of now, there are no new holidays scheduled to be added to the official list of Mexican public holidays in 2022.
Q: What is the significance of the November 2 holiday in Mexico?
A: November 2 is the Day of the Dead, a special day for remembering and honoring those who have died. It is a day filled with celebrations, and people often visit graves or build altars in memory of their loved ones.
Q: Who was Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla?
A: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary leader who is best known for leading the Mexican War of Independence against Spain in 1810.
Q: What is the Rosca de Reyes?
A: The Rosca de Reyes, or King’s Cake, is a sweet bread traditionally eaten in Mexico on January 6th to celebrate the Epiphany, or the day the Three Wise Men visited the baby Jesus. It is usually filled with nuts and dried fruit and has a small figurine baked inside.
Q: What is the significance of September 15 in Mexico?
A: September 15 is Independence Day, which commemorates the beginning of Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain in 1810. The evening of September 15 is known as el Grito de Dolores or the Cry of Dolores, which is when the President of Mexico gives a speech and rings the bell in the National Palace in Mexico City to symbolize the call to arms made by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.
Q: What is the significance of November 20 in Mexico?
A: November 20 is Revolution Day, which commemorates the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. It is a day to honor the heroes of the revolution who fought for social, political, and economic change in Mexico.
Q: What are some of the typical ways that families celebrate public holidays in Mexico?
A: Public holidays in Mexico are often celebrated by families and friends coming together to share traditional foods, music, and festivities. Many people also attend parades or religious ceremonies, or host a party at home to mark the occasion. Others like to treat public holidays as just another day off to relax.
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