PLEASE SEE "Calendar" for a sample of our basic, free listing with background details.
This page for Oaxaca, for example, is minimalist, although this southwestern state has some of the most colorful, vibrant festivals in Mexico.
We are looking for organizations or individuals to SPONSOR THIS PAGE and help us document these traditions and do justice to their color.
Jan 06 Epiphany “Día de los Reyes Magos” (Day of the Three Kings) celebrated nationwide
End of the Christmas holidays and the day that children are given their gifts. Stores and markets are full of toys and “roscas de reyes”, a rich, twisted bread with dolls inside. Whoever gets one of the little dolls has to throw a party on February 2nd.
Jan 13- 17 Santa Ana del Valle “Fiesta del Dulce Nombre de Jesús,” (Festival of the Sweet Name of Jesus)
Also colorful in Tlacolula and Zimatlan, about 25 miles west of the city
Jan 25 Mitla “Fiesta del Apóstol de San Pablo,” (Festival of St. Paul the Apostle)
Masses, processions, feast, fireworks, and dancing.
Feb 02 “La Candelaria,” (Candlemas) Celebrated nationwide.Parties are given by finders of the “rosca” dolls, and families have their images of the Baby Jesus dressed up to be blessed in memory of the Presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple.
Feb 05 Constitution Day (national holiday)
Feb 24 Flag Day (national holiday)
Tues before Ash Wed - (flexible date). "Carnival" celebrated nationwide
Celebrated with dances and other festivities; the best traditional Carnival celebration in Oaxaca is probably on the Pacific Coast at Pinotepa de Don Luis.
Lent or “Paseos de los Viernes de Cuaresma”, early each Friday during Lent, university students at El Llano Park, accompanied by a band, choose beauty queen and give flowers to their favorites.
Three weeks before Good Friday. Dia de la Samaritana. (The Good Samaritan Day)
Holy Week or “Semana Santa”. celebrated nationwide Flexible date, starting with Palm Sunday when woven crosses to protect homes and belongings are sold in the markets, plazas and in front of churches. On Holy Thursday visits are made to “the seven houses” or churches, with altars set up for “La Dolorosa”, (Our Lady of Sorrows) with "chía" seeds sprouting green out of clay animals (symbolizing the Resurrection)
On Good Friday the Passion and Crucifixion are acted out with holy images or live actors.
On Easter Sunday the Resurrection is celebrated with masses at midnight Saturday and at six on Sunday morning. At ten on Sunday the church bells ring to celebrate the “Misa de Gloria”. In villages such as Zimatlán and Huixtepec, the churches are filled with hundreds of vases of flowers and life-sized statues of the risen Christ.
Mar 19 Huajuapan de Leon “Fiesta de San Jose” (St.Joseph’s Day)
Dances of the Matachines, with processions of celebrants and a ceremonial bull through the city
Mar 19 San Agustin Etla “Patronal de los Obreros” (Workers Day) Processions and dances
March 21 Birthday of Benito Juárez (national holiday)
The Zapotec Indian President of Mexico (March 21, 1806- July 18, 1872) was born in Guelatao, Oaxaca.
May 01 International Labor Day (national holiday)
May 03 Oaxaca “Día de la Santa Cruz” (Day of the Holy Cross) or“Día del Albañil” (Day of the Masons)
University of Oaxaca students dress up and play tricks as they dance through the streets, and generally making merry with harmless tricks such as breaking egg shells filled with flour or confetti on the heads of bystanders. Small crosses are placed on buildings under construction.
May 05 Cinco de Mayo (national holiday)
National holiday in memory of Mexican victory over invading French troops in the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Banks and government offices closed.
May 10 Mother's Day (national holiday)
Starting about May 10 (flexible). Oaxaca Isthmus of Tehuantepec week celebrations, “Vela Ismeña” (Isthmus Gathering)
A week when people from the isthmus of Tehuantepec residing in the city of Oaxaca come together for a series of public and cultural events, ending with a Mass in Santo Domingo church. Dances, parties, and processions.
May 24 Juchitan de Zaragoza Fiesta Patronal” (Patronage Festival)
Women and men carry candles, flower clusters of palm flowers through the town. There is also a tradition of fruit throwing.
July 1- 5 Teotitlan del Valle “Fiesta de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo,” (Festival of the Precious Blood of Christ)
This festival features the rare Danza de la Pluma (Dance of the Feather).
Last 2 Mondays of July. Oaxaca "Guelaguetza" or “Lunes del Cerro” Cultural Festival.
(Monday on the Hill) Beginning in 1932, when Oaxaca celebrated its 400th anniversary, groups from many regions of the state have performed their wonderful native dances in all their varieties of costume. The original event, of pre-Hispanic origin, enacted reciprocal gift-giving and ceremonies in honor of the Corn Goddess.
July 22 Magdalena Tequisquitlan "Fiesta Patronal y Feria: (Patronage Festival and Fair)
A colorful fiesta with dancing, art in the streets and fireworks
July 25 Cuilapan de Guerrero "Calendas"
Aug 15 Pinotepa de Don Luis “Fiesta Patronal” (Patronage Festival)
Dances of the Chareos
Aug 15 Asuncion Nochistlan “Fiesta Patronal” (Patronage Festival)
Calendas, change of town leadership and a barter market
Aug 24- 27 San Bartolo Coyotepec “Fiesta de San Bartolomé” (St. Bartholomew’s Day)
Sept 7- 9 Teotitlan del Valle “Fiesta del Señor de La Natividad” (Festival of the Lord of the Nativity)
Sept 14 San Juan Juquila “Cristo de la Exaltacion” (Exaltation of Christ) Religious Festival
Dances of the Vijanas, Coloquias, Maromeros, Huenchos, Viejos
Sept 15 & 16 Independence Day, “Día de la Independencia” (national holiday)
Military parades and reenactment of the “Grito” or call for independence from Spain in 1810 take place.
Sept 23- 30 Tlacochahuaya “Fiesta de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo” (Festival of the Precious Blood of Christ)
Eight days of processions, dances, fireworks, and food.
Sept 30 Ciudad Ixtepec “Fiesta Patronal” Patronage Festival
Pyrotechnics, processions with banners and throwing fruit!
Oct 12. Día de la Raza (Columbus Day) National Holiday
National holiday that commemorates the union of the races.
Oct. 18 Oaxaca "Día del Rosario" (Day of the Virgin of the Rosary) Processions, masses
Nov 1, 2 Día de los Muertos “Day of the Dead” Celebrated nationwide
Nov. 1 is All Saints’ Day, Nov. 2 is All Soul’s Day. Altars to honor and receive dead souls which return to earth once a year (deceased adults come for 24 hours, from 4 p.m on the lst to 4 p.m. on the 2nd, and children come the day before). Altars are set up in homes, markets and shops with food and drink, incense and flowers.
Nov 20. Revolution Day “Dia de la Revolucion” (national holiday)
Anniversary of the revolution of 1910- 17.
Dec 12 Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe (national holiday)
An important national holiday dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, who appeared to the Indian Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac in the early 16th century and became the beloved saint of the Indians all over Mexico
Dec. 18 Oaxaca “Virgin of la Soledad”, (Virgin of Solitude) Religious Festival
One of the most elaborate religious festivals in Oaxaca, held in celebration of the cult of the patron saint of the city. The church is filled with flowers, banners, candles and worshipers who come from all over the area.
Dec 21 Ixtlan de Juarez Fiesta Patronal (Patronage Festival)
Processions and “Calendas”
Christmas in Oaxaca starts Dec. 16th and ends Jan 6th – it is a unique and complex tradition – we are currently working on a special entry just about the celebrations, which will also include an entry on Dec 23rd’s Noche de Rabanos – the Night of the Radishes!
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