Guide to Mexico’s public holidays, civic holidays, and annual festivity dates
Statutory holidays are legislated at a Federal level and dates given as a holiday by statute are termed locally as “Dias Feriados.” There are currently ten statutory holidays in Mexico, as well as a range of civic holidays and regional/national festivities.
See Also: When to visit Mexico: Seasons and Events
Civic Holidays in Mexico
Principal Annual Festivity Dates in Mexico
Statutory holidays are dates decreed as national holidays for all workers in Mexico. There are currently ten statutory holiday dates in Mexico, as follows:
Año Nuevo. New Year’s Day. Banks, offices and factories remain closed.
Dia de la Constitucion. This day celebrates the promulgation of the country’s 1917 Constitution The date is observed on the first Monday in February. See: Bridges to Cross.
Cumpleaños de Benito Juarez. The birth date of Benito Juarez, Mexico’s first and most revered President, is celebrated with a public holiday. The date is observed on the nearest Monday to his birth date every March.
Semana de Pascua. Easter week holidays vary depending on each year: consult your calendar for details. In Mexico, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are designated public holidays.
See Blog: Mexico City During Easter Week
Dia del Trabajo. Mexico, like many other industrialized countries, Mexico celebrates Labor Day on May 1 every year, commemorating the advent of worker’s unions. All banks and offices close, but most shopping centers remain open for business.
Dia de la Independencia. This date commemorates the date when Father Miguel Hidalgo made his ‘cry for independence’ on September 16, 1810 in the town of Dolores Hidalgo — an event that ultimately led to Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule. Independence celebrations take place on the evening of September 15; September 16 is a public holiday.
Dia de los Fieles Difuntos. Mexico’s “Day of the Dead”, celebrations take place over 2 days (November 1st and 2nd) and contemporarily, October 31 is often included, taking-in Halloween. Mexico’s banks and businesses close on November 2, to observe this important religious holiday in Mexico.
See Blog: Day of the Dead
Dia de la Revolucion. November 20 commemorates the start date of Mexico’s 1910 revolution, led by Francisco I. Madero. The date is observed on the third Monday in November.
See Blog: Bridges to Cross
Transmision del Poder Ejecutivo Federal. Mexico’s Federal Government and Presidency returns for re-election every six years. On the date of transition, which is December 1 every six years, Mexico observes a public holiday. The next holiday is due to be observed on December 1, 2018.
Dia de Navidad. Christmas Day is observed with a public holiday in Mexico.
See: Christmas in Mexico
In addition to the national holidays decreed by statute, Mexico observes a number of other Civic Holidays. These are not holidays although some states and municipalities may observe them and offer workers time off in their locale.
Dia del Ejercito. Army Day, also known as Dia de la Lealtad (Day of Loyalty), commemorates the day when President Madero was escorted to the National Palace by cadets of the nation’s military college.
Dia de la Bandera. Flag Day was introduced by President Lazaro Cardenas, a man best known for having nationalized Mexican oil reserves in the 1930’s. The day commemorates Mexico’s current flag as well as previous ones. Schools often get children to undertake flag research projects for presentation on this day.
Anniversario de la Expropriacion Petrolera. This day commemorates the day in 1938 when President Lazaro Cardenas expropriated all oil reserves and declared oil a strategic Mexican national asset.
Heroica Defensa de Veracruz. The Herioc Defense of Veracruz, commemorates the USA’s occupation of Veracruz in 1914.
See Also: Guide to Veracruz
Batalla de Puebla. The Battle of Puebla, or more commonly referred to as simply Cinco de Mayo, is observed as a public holiday in the state of Puebla, but nowhere else in Mexico. The date commemorates the victory of a small Mexican army against a French army double the size on May 5, 1862. The French re-took the city a year later and soon after installed Emperor Maximilian in 1864. The date is far more widely celebrated by people in the USA than in Mexico itself; possibly due to beer and liquor companies aligning themselves with the date as part of their US marketing. The date is sometimes mistakenly associated with Mexico’s Independence, which is September 16.
See Blog: Cinco de Mayo in Mexico
Cumpleaños de Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. Miguel Hidalgo is known as the “Father of Mexican Independence”. Although he and his conspirators were captured and executed by the Spanish for their insurgency against the Spanish Crown, his movement gave inspiration and created a political vacuum that eventually led to Mexico’s independence from Spain and, alongside Ignacio Allende and Jose Maria Morelos, is a revered personality in Mexico’s independence history.
Dia de la Marina. Mexico’s Navy Day, acknowledging the nation’s maritime service men and women. The day is commemorated with various military parades.
Dia de los Niños Heroes. “Boy Heroes” (or Cadet Heroes); this day commemorates the events which took place at the Battle of Chapultepec, in modern-day Mexico City. The battle, which took place during the Mexican American war in 1847, gave victory to US troops over Mexican forces defending Chapultepec Castle. According to military records, six cadets refused to fall back as the superior US forces moved to take the castle; choosing to fight to the death; the last of the six is said to have wrapped himself in a flag and jumped from the castle point. The event is also commemorated in a permanent monument of six pillars, which stands at the foot of the castle near the capital’s principal boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma.
Consumacion de la Independencia. Consummation of Independence; this date marks the end of the War of Independence, eleven years after Miguel Hidalgo’s ‘cry for independence’.
Cumpleaños de Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon. Birth date of Jose Maria Morelos, a general in the armed struggle for independence who took up leadership of the rebellion following the execution of Miguel Hidalgo. Jose Maria Morelos was captured and executed by the Spanish for treason in 1815. Following the execution his Lieutenant, Vicente Guerrero, continued the armed struggle against the Spaniards for Mexican independence. The city of Valladolid was later renamed in his honor to present-day Morelia.
See Also: Guide to Morelia.
Dia de La Raza. Columbus Day; commemorates the Discovery of the New World by the Italian navigator, Christopher Columbus.
These festivities are generally observed in modern-day Mexican culture, but they are not statuatory or civic holidays in Mexico.
Epiphany, also known in Spanish as Dia de los Reyes Magos. In previous generations it was on this day that children received their holiday gifts; today, children receive their gifts at Christmas and sometimes an additional gift on this date. It’s also the date when Rosca de Reyes is taken, a sweet bread inside which is hidden a plastic doll. If your slice contains the doll, you host a party at your home on February 2, Candles mass, and serve Mexican corn tamales.
Dia de la Candelaria – Candle mass. This is the date when tamales, flavored (sweet or sour) corn paste wrapped in corn leaves and steamed, are eaten. If your slice of Rosca de Reyes contained the plastic doll, traditionally you serve tamales at a house party on this date.
Not traditionally a Mexican holiday, but with the Anglo-American influence February 14th is celebrated as Valentines Day — Dia del Amor y la Amistad — particularly in more urban centers across the country.
Dia del Niño — Children’s Day is widely observed in Mexico. It’s not a holiday but children receive gifts from family members on this day.
Dia de las Madres — Mother’s Day is an important cultural date in Mexico, as the country has a strong matriarchal culture. Families take their mothers and grandmothers out to lunch. Restaurants are very busy on this date.
Dia del Maestro — Teacher’s Day, traditionally school-age children will take their home room teacher a small gift.
Third Sunday in June
Dia del Padre – Father’s day in Mexico. Children will buy a gift for their father and some families take their fathers out to lunch. Restaurants are very busy on this date.
November 1 & 2
Dia de los Muertos, also Dia de los Fieles Difuntos: All Saints Day and All Souls Day. One of the most important religious holidays in Mexico. November 1 is not a public holiday but November 2 is. Halloween (October 31) is often tied-in with the festivities these days.
See Blog: Celebrating Life on Day of the Dead in Mexico
Dia de la Virgen Guadalupe – Not a public holiday but an important religious holiday in Mexico.
See Blog: The Virgin Guadalupe and Juan Diego
Posadas Navideñas – Christmas processions begin on the 16th and run until Christmas Eve on December 24.
See Blog: Posadas Navideñas
December 24 & 25
Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and Dia de Navidad (Christmas Day). Traditionally, Mexicans take their main Christmas meal and open presents on the evening of the 24th. Some families have taken up the Anglo-American tradition of eating on the 25th. The 25th is a public holiday, but the 24th is a normal working day in Mexico.
Dia de los Santos Innocentes — Day of the Innocent Saints. This is a day when Mexicans traditionally play practical jokes on each other, similar to April Fool’s day in the Anglo traditions.
New Year’s Eve. New Year’s eve is a traditionally a family affair in Mexico, although the squares of main towns and cities will fill up with revelers celebrating the New Year.
See Blog: New Year Celebrations in Mexico
Mexico Events Calendar: For details about national and local holidays festivities and other celebrations across Mexico, connect to the Mexico Events Calendar here on Mexperience.
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