Festivals and Events

Discovering Mexico’s Annual Public Holidays

Mexico observes several dates throughout the year to commemorate important historical, cultural and religious events; some are national public holidays

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Mexico observes several dates throughout the year to commemorate and commemorate important historical, cultural and religious events.  Most are observed with civic events, and some are national public holidays.

Statutory public holidays in Mexico

There are currently ten statutory national holidays in Mexico; however, only nine are observed annually; the tenth one, on December 1, is only observed every six years—on the occasion of a Presidential inauguration.

Where a statutory holiday date falls on a weekend day in any given year, no additional compensation is given (by law) to employees, although companies may offer a day-off in lieu.

Long-weekend holiday dates

In 2006, Mexico’s Congress passed a new law creating ‘Bank Holiday Mondays’ —modeled on public holidays observed in the UK—whereby three of the ten existing holiday dates are observed on the nearest Monday, creating longer, three-day, weekends.

The move was particularly welcomed by Mexico’s tourism industry as well other retail and leisure businesses that have bolstered their trade through the advent of these long weekends.

Notwithstanding the three long weekends brought about by law, Mexicans have long been expert in creating so-called puentes (‘bridges’): the art of taking additional days either side of a holiday date to create a longer period of rest, usually involving a weekend.

Those who work get paid double-time

Official public holidays see banks, offices, and factories closing their doors.  However, leisure facilities, tourism services, and many shopping centers in bigger towns and cities remain open for business.  They must, however, pay their workers double-time for working on national holidays.  Many of the better employers pay double-time and, additionally, give their employees a day-off in lieu.

Civic holidays are different to national holidays

Mexico observes a good number of Civic Holidays, too.  These are not national holidays, although the law does allow for some states and municipalities to observe these Civic dates locally.  The Battle of Puebla, more commonly referred to as Cinco de Mayo, is a good example of a Civic Holiday that is observed in the state of Puebla, but nowhere else in Mexico.

Calendar of annual holiday events in Mexico

If you’re planning to visit Mexico, make a note of the public holidays as these dates often provide an opportunity to witness interesting cultural and historical events as well participate in lively parties and festivities.  It’s also essential to book ahead of time, as Mexicans often plan their own vacations around these dates: expect airplanes, buses, and hotel rooms to fill up.

You can find more detailed information about public and civic holidays on the Calendar of Festivals and Events in Mexico here on Mexperience.

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