There are three classifications of Holidays in Mexico: Statutory, Civic and Festivities or Days of Celebration. This article will review the 14 Days of Festivities.
The Epiphany, Dia de los Santos Reyes, Day of the Three Kings, January 6th, is the celebration based on the story of the 3 Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men, who have been recognized as having visited the Christ Child after his birth in Bethlehem. In the tradition of the gifts given to Jesus, of Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold, the children also receive gifts from family and friends. Usually, a cake called Rosca de Reyes is served that includes a figurine-representation of the Christ Child, signifying Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus fleeing from King Herod’s plan to kill the newly born infants. Herod the Great was hoping to eliminate Jesus before he could grow up and become King of the Jews.
Valentine’s Day, Dia de San Valentine, celebrates the day of love on February 14th. Traditionally, gifts of chocolate, jewelry and May sometimes, include a serenade, are given to a special woman.
Children are honored on April 30th, Children’s Day, Dia del Niño.
Every May 10th, no matter what day of the week it falls on, is Mother’s Day. Musicians are usually hired to serenade their mother with traditional songs in the evening or throughout the night, even into the early hours of the next morning.
Teacher’s Day, Dia del Maestro, honors all teachers in Mexico on May 15th.
As well, there is a day honoring Students, on May 23rd. The day is called Dia del Estudiante.
Dia del Padre, Father’s Day, honors all fathers in Mexico on the third Sunday of June.
Dia de Todos los Santos, November 1st, All Saints Day, honors the saints and deceased children, unmarried under 18 years of age. This tradition goes back to pre-Hispanic and Christian rituals. Saints and children who have died are considered to be in heaven. Family and friends bring offerings of food, flowers and music to the cemetery.
Day of the Dead, All Souls Day known as Dia de Muertos, is celebrated on November 2nd. Families gather in the cemeteries to celebrate the lives of the deceased family members and friends with food, flowers, favorite drinks and music. It is truly a celebration.
One of the biggest Festival days is Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe or Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, celebrated on December 12th. In 1531 CE, an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego instructing him to request a church to be built on the Hill of Tepeyac in her honor. The Bishop was skeptical and asked for proof from the Virgin. Juan Diego asked the Virgin who then told him to, gather roses that were in bloom on the top of the snow-laden Hill and bring them to the Bishop. Upon opening his tilma, the flowers fell out and an image of the Virgin miraculously appeared on the fabric; astounded, the Bishop built the church.
The week before Christmas, December 16-24, is known as Las Posadas. This tradition commemorates the story of Joseph and Mary’s search for a place to stay when they were in Bethlehem for a census; all the inns were full. They went from door to door looking for shelter; at the time Mary was very close to giving birth to Jesus. Traditionally, candle light possessions go from house to house until they find a special home who will admit the processioners. As usual, food and music are provided.
December 24th, Christmas Eve known as Nochebuena, celebrates the evening before the birth of Christ. Families gather for parties. Usually, tamales are served, including ones filled with meat, or cheese and green chili. Another, “sweet” tamale is also traditional for the holiday season.
Dia de los Santos Inocentes, day of the Massacre of the Innocents December 28th, commemorates the day King Herod the Great slaughtered the newly born children of Bethlehem in order to kill Jesus; based upon the information he unscrupulously obtained from the Magi.
December 31st, New Year’s Eve, Año Nuevo, celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of the new one. Traditionally, Menudo and Tamales are served along with Music, dancing and generally p