JAN 1: New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo) Nationwide. Mexico rings in the New Year with celebrations featuring music, dance, food and fireworks. Streets are filled with revelers, and friends and families congregate for parties that often last till dawn. One tradition calls for eating twelve grapes, one with each stroke of the chiming bell at midnight, for luck during the next 12 months.
City of Merida Festival (Festival de la Ciudad de Merida) Merida, Yucatan. In celebration of the city’s founding more than 461 years ago, this ten-day festival features music, dance, and exhibits of local art, as well as the annual serenade to the city, where the traditional “Mañanitas” (the “Happy Birthday” song) is sung by its residents. www.merida.gob.mx
Merida International Arts Festival Merida, Yucatan. Sponsored by CONACULTA (The National Board of Culture), INBA (National Institute of Fine Arts), the state of Yucatan and the city of Merida, this arts festival will feature live concerts, opera, dance, theater, poetry readings, art and photography exhibitions as well as films from all over the world. Many events will be taking place at the Jose Marti Cultural Center, Olimpo’s Cultural Center, Merida’s city theater, the University of Yucatan, and Jose Peon Contreras Theater.
JAN 6: Three Kings’ Day (Dia de Los Santos Reyes) Nationwide. The Feast of the Epiphany recalls the arrival in Bethlehem of the three wise men (Reyes Magos) bearing gifts for baby Jesus. This is the day of traditional gift-giving for children in the central and southern regions of Mexico. Rosca de Reyes, a crown-shaped sweet bread decorated with candied fruits with a small doll baked inside, is served on this day. Whoever is lucky enough to find the figure in his slice of bread must host a party on February 2, Candlemas Day, offering tamales (stuffed cornmeal cakes wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves) and atole (a hot, sweet drink thickened with cornflour) to the guests.
Leon State Fair Leon, Guanajuato. Leon City, located just 45 minutes outside of Guanajuato, hosts this annual fair which features concerts, dance, food, and much more. One of the highlights of this year’s fair is an ancient Totonac ritual performed by dancers of all ages called Los Voladores de Papantla (Flyers from Papantla). These professional dancers launch themselves from the top of a 100-foot pole and slowly descend, flying through the air as the ropes around the pole unwind. www.ferialeon.com.mx
St. Sebastian Fiesta (Fiesta de San Sebastian el Martir) Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas. This fiesta is famous for its “parachicos” tour, which features a dancing procession from the Santo Domingo church to the San Antonio Hermit and ends in a delectable food festival featuring traditional dishes such as “pepita con tasajo” made of beef in a creamy pumpkin seed sauce. On the night of the 21st, a traditional nautical battle takes place on the Grijalva River which concludes in a spectacle of fireworks.
The ceremony of the Pocho Dance Tenosique, Tabasco. Dating back to prehispanic times, the traditional “Pocho” dance means it’s almost Carnaval time in Tabasco. The Pochü consists of a series of dances and other ancient ceremonies performed by masked dancers, many dressed as jaguars and tigers. The dance symbolizes the purification of man through the battle between good and evil. The Pocho performances begin on January 20 at the main park in Tenosique and on all subsequent Sundays prior to the commencement of Carnival. On the last day, the dancers dance backward from the main square to the church where the dance began.
JAN 16: Treat yourself to a birding vacation to an area of well-recognized birding importance in sunny Mexico. The Mazatlan Bird Festival promises to become the most important event of its kind in Latin America.
MAR 4: Night of the Witches (Noche de Brujas) Catemaco, Veracruz. The small lakeside town of Catemaco, referred to as the mecca of witch doctors, attracts thousands of people seeking non-conventional healing methods, and many swear by the results. Taking place the first Friday night of March every year, the annual gathering is a spectacle of witches, healers, magicians, and wizards.
LALA International Marathon Torreon Torreon, Coahuila. Torreon will host thousands of national and international runners in one of the most important and traditional marathons in Mexico. www.maratonlala.ecgnet.com.mx
Corona Rally Mexico A two-day race covering 600 miles of central Mexico’s majestic plateaus and mountains in 15 legs of intense off-road driving. Not to be missed is the wide array of festivities that always accompany the rallies. Traditional dance, music, and food promise to put the Mexican spirit into this event. www.rallymexico.com
International Motorcycle Festival Saltillo, Coahuila. Saltillo welcomes hundreds of riders to this unique event, just a three hours’ ride from Texas. www.amoden.com
Holy Week (Semana Santa) Nationwide. Beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday, the week’s religious celebrations include reenactments of the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. The most renowned celebrations are held in Mexico City, Patzcuaro, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, San Cristobal de las Casas and Taxco.
Tajin Summit (Cumbre Tajin) Tajin, Veracruz. This festival evokes the spring season (time of renovation) and celebrates the archeological sites and natural beauty of Veracruz. The central theme of Tajin is the Ritual. www.cumbretajin.com
International Film Festival (Muestra Internacional de Cine) Guadalajara, Jalisco. This contemporary film festival is the oldest and most important film festival in Mexico, offering the best selection of Mexican and Ibero-American films of the year. The festival features a variety of films including feature-length films, shorts, documentaries, and children’s films.
MAR 21: Spring Equinox (Equinoccio de la Primavera) Chichen-Itza, Yucatan. Thousands of people from around the world gather at this Mayan ruin on the Yucatan peninsula to witness the afternoon shadow of the snake-god Kukulcan slowly “crawl down” the country’s largest Mayan pyramid, El Castillo. Tourism in Yucatan.
International Guitar Festival of Morelia (Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Morelia) Morelia, Michoacan. Michoacan, with its rich musical traditions and home to one of the oldest conservatories in Latin America, is the perfect host for this popular guitar festival. The program features recitals, contests, conferences, seminars, and expositions, with local as well as international artists participating from Venezuela, Chile, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Cuba, and the Czech Republic. Tourism in Morelia.
Acapulco Boat Show Acapulco, Guerrero. Aimed at fostering an interest in sea and water sports, as well as promote Mexico’s nautical market, this exposition features everything from mega yachts to aquatic motorcycles. National and international exhibitors include manufacturers, distributors, and marina service providers. Boat owners, prospective buyers, and sea lovers, in general, are welcome to attend.
Canadian Tour-Michelin Morelia Classic in Morelia, Michoacan. Considered one of the most important golf events in the world, the Canadian Tour will make its final stop in Morelia.
Mexico Underwater Cozumel, Quintana Roo. Mexico Underwater is the first premier dive show in Cozumel designed for the diving enthusiasts. This dive fair is held in a truly world-class environment and in a real scuba diving atmosphere. Mexico Underwater features educational seminars, product exhibits, travel opportunities, and photo contests.
Alarconian Theatrical Festival (Jornadas Alarconianas) Taxco, Guerrero. The picturesque silver mining town of Taxco will host 10 days of artistic and cultural events including literature, music, theater, dance, opera, and artworks presented by local artists.
ROLEX/IGFA Offshore Championship Los Cabos, Baja California Sur. This annual competition attracts more than 60 qualifying teams from 33 countries representing 250 international anglers and their guests to Cabo San Lucas and the Los Cabos area for four days of intense fishing on 44 local charter boats. Each team is allowed to weigh two fish of each species on each day of fishing, and top prizes include engraved gold and stainless Rolex watches.
International Wine and Cheese Festival (Feria Internacional de Queso y Vino) Tequisquiapan, Queretaro. The enchanting town of Tequisquiapan hosts this annual wine and cheese festival, bringing together wine and cheese producers from all over the country. Apart from wine and cheese tasting, visitors will also enjoy regional cuisine, concerts, handicrafts, and other cultural events.
Huatulco Sail Fishing Tournament (Torneo Internacional de la Pesca de Pez Vela) Huatulco, Oaxaca. Huatulco, an excellent site for sport-fishing and surfing, hosts this popular annual tournament.
Cancun Jazz Festival Cancun, Quintana Roo. This Mexican Caribbean city showcases some of the world’s best jazz musicians. The three-day festival boasts all types of Jazz, from traditional to contemporary, Afro-Latino to Flamenco and Cuban Jazz. Jazz lovers will descend upon Cancun to savor world-class Jazz in a tropical, beachfront setting and surrounded by one-of-a-kind Mexican and Mayan culture, as well as food and attractions not found at any other Caribbean destination.
Nueva Paquime Festival Casas Grandes, Chihuahua. This festival, taking place in Casas Grandes, just outside the renowned Paquime archaeological site (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998), is a celebration of the heritage and cultures of northern Mexico, featuring, parades, art contests, concerts, poetry readings, children’s workshops and much more. Celebrated guest artist Juan Quezada, whose renowned pottery has been sold to collectors all around the world, will be present at the festival. Tourism in Chihuahua.
International Guitar Festival of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. The breathtaking colonial city of San Miguel de Allende will host this glorious guitar festival, featuring performances throughout the city, master classes by internationally renowned artists, lectures, exhibitions of instruments, as well as a food and arts festival spotlighting traditional food and art from the region. www.smaguitarfest.org
Villista Cavalcade Chihuahua, Chihuahua. Chihuahua will host its annual weeklong cavalcade from the city of Chihuahua to Hidalgo del Parral, covering more than 136 miles of scenic Chihuahuan countryside. While the first cavalcade took place in 1996 with less than five hundred riders, more than 1,300 riders are expected to participate this year.
Festival of Adventure Tourism (Festival de Turismo de Aventura) Chihuahua, Chihuahua State. Athletes compete for cash prizes at this festival featuring everything from marathons and triathlons to mountain biking and sand-boarding. If the competition doesn’t take your breath away, the lush scenery will. V
Guelaguetza Oaxaca, Oaxaca State. Dating back to prehispanic times when the festival was offered to the gods in hopes of a bountiful harvest, this event brings together delegations from the region’s seven indigenous cultures. Traditional songs and dances are performed by each group, and objects and handicrafts typical to each region are also on display.
Villista Cavalgade (Cabalgata Villista) Chihuahua, Chihuahua State. More than a thousand people take part in this horseback riding adventure which covers 136 miles from Chihuahua City to Hidalgo del Parral. Entire families are welcome to participate.
International Film Festival, Short Expression (El Festival de Expression en Corto) Guanajuato, Guanajuato State. An annual film festival showcasing short films and documentaries and awarding the creators of outstanding films with the materials and equipment needed to continue their art. Every year, a country is spotlighted at the festival as the special guest of honor, with a variety of activities that provide a deeper look into the film culture, history, and contemporary trends of the guest country.
National Sarape Fair (Feria Nacional de Sarape) Santa Ana Chiautempan, Tlaxcala. The renowned rectangular “sarape” shawls, one of Mexico’s traditional textile handicrafts, are spotlighted every year at this annual fair.
Poetry Festival San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi. International poetry festival featuring the works of Juan Gelman, Alvaro Mutis, Raul Zurita, Agusto de Campos, Decio Pignatari, David Huerta y Tomas Segovia. This festival will take place in the four ares of the state and features lectures, readings, and conferences by world-renowned poets.
International Mariachi and Charro Festival (12° Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charreria) Guadalajara, Jalisco. Annual celebration of mariachi music in the mariachi capital of the world, gathering musicians from Mexico and around the world.
Tepozteco Challenge (Reto al Tepozteco) Tepoztlan, Morelos. Performance depicting King Tepoztecatl’s conversion to the Catholic religion. The procession leads to the Tepozteco Pyramid, where offerings are made. This event includes a food festival, chinelo dances dating back to prehispanic times, and fireworks.
SEP 16: Mexican Independence Day (Dia de la Independencia Mexicana) Nationwide. Mexico celebrates its declaration of independence from Spain in 1810. The night of September 15, marks “El Grito,” a dramatic reenactment of revolutionary Father Hidalgo’s call for his fellow Mexicans to join the uprising, which takes place at city halls across the country. On September 16, military parades are held in almost every Mexican city.
Running of the Bulls at San Miguel (Sanmiguelada) San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Also known as the Pamplonada because it is Mexico’s imitation of Spain’s “running of the bulls,” the Sanmiguelada is an annual festival usually taking place the third Saturday of September in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel. The event involves dances, concerts, fireworks, and bulls running through town. Daring participants meet at high noon.
SEP 19-21: Fall Equinox at Kulkulcan (Equinoccio de Kulkulcan) Chichen Itza, Yucatan. Thousands of people from around the world gather at this Mayan ruin on the Yucatan Peninsula to witness the afternoon shadow of the snake-god Kukulcan slowly “crawl down” the country’s largest Mayan pyramid, El Castillo.
Mexico City International Marathon (Maraton Internacional de la Ciudad de Mexico) Mexico City. Mexico City’s altitude makes this popular 26-mile marathon one of the most challenging in the world. More than 15,000 runners of all ages and from all walks of life compete in five categories. The marathon starts and ends at Mexico City’s historic central square (the zocalo).
National Antique Festival (Muestra Nacional de Antigüedades) Saltillo, Coahuila. Now in its tenth year, this festival gathers together top antique dealers from all over Mexico and features exhibitions of international treasures, accompanied by a musical and educational program.
Mazatlan Cultural Festival (Festival Cultural de Mazatlan) Mazatlan, Sinaloa. A cultural celebration featuring theater, dance, film, literature, and concerts throughout the month in the historic downtown area (Centro Historico) with many of the events taking place in the open air as well as in the Angela Peralta Theater.
NOV 1-2:Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) Nationwide. The most colorful annual festival on the Mexican calendar, commemorating departed loved ones. During this festival, the dead have divine permission to visit friends and relatives on earth. The living welcome the souls of the departed with offerings incorporating their favorite foods and beverages, as well as marigolds and candles. The Day of the Dead celebration is particularly memorable in the states of Oaxaca and Michoacan, as well as in Mexico City.
Mexican Caribbean Food Festival (Festival Gastronomico del Caribe Mexicano) Cancun, Quintana Roo. This festival features a broad range of culinary creations from 30 of the finest restaurants in Cancun and a number of others from the Mayan Riviera and Isla Mujeres. Additionally, numerous specialty dishes in both national and international styles will be unveiled during the festival, offering a wide variety of tastes to please every palate.
Cultural Week in Zihuatanejo Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. The Zihuatanejo village hosts a series of cultural events that promote the region’s cultural heritage, including a book fair, ballet Folklorico, story-telling, and a handicraft exposition.
Puerto Vallarta Film Festival of the Americas Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Featuring a wide range of North American independent and Latin American productions, this elaborate showcase of full-length films and documentaries includes shorts, documentaries, and features. Extravagant Galas, Art Expositions, Food Events, and Jazz Concerts are some of the highlights scheduled to take place throughout the festival, as well as a vast array of outdoor activities available in and around the area.
Tag and Release Fishing Tournament – Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. The international tournament that permits the observation and preservation of a variety of species in the Pacific.
International Half Maraton (Medio Maraton Internacional Vallarta) Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. The only one of its kind, this challenging race actually begins in Jalisco and ends in its neighboring state, Nayarit. Beginning in the popular vacation spot Puerto Vallarta, and ending in Nuevo Vallarta, this event is sponsored by the two participating states? Secretary of Tourism in an effort to promote both destinations on a national and worldwide level. With five different categories, this half marathon offers great cash prizes to winners.
Annual Classic Fishing Tournament (Torneo Anual Clasico de Pesca 2004)-Mazatlan, Sinaloa. The El Cid Marina will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the 10th annual sportfishing tournament. Categories include marlin, sailfish, swordfish, dorado, Mahi and tuna. This is a catch and release tournament.
Festival del Gourmet Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. One of Mexico’s premier culinary art events, attended by more than 20,000 people annually. Local chefs at participating restaurants and more than 20 guest chefs from around the world serve up some 500 gourmet foods, cheese, tequilas, and liquors. The event also involves cooking classes, wine-tasting, beer samplings, and other activities.
Puerto Vallarta Golf Tournament (Copa de Golf Vallarta) Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Taking place at the prestigious Nicklaus Vista Vallarta and the Mayan Palace Golf Courses, this annual tournament brings in more than 120 golf enthusiasts, both amateurs and professionals alike, to compete for cash prizes.
Annual Harley Davidson Rocky Point Rally (Rally de Motociclismo) Puerto Peñasco, Sonora. Annual Hog get-together featuring scenic rides, charity events, beach parties, live music, and plenty of engines revving up.
Annual Half Iron Man Mexico Baja. Considered one of the toughest triathlons in the world, the Half Iron Man course consists of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. Athletes from all over the world will compete for cash prizes.
Annual Yucatan Bird Festival (Festival de las Aves Toh) Merida, Yucatan. Bird-watching tours/sessions, workshops, and exhibits are the highlights of this festival designed to illustrate the special role birds play in our environment and in the Yucatan territory.
Neighborhood Festival (Festival del Barrio) Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. This ten-day festival features more than 100 events where local and national artists perform in dance, music, and theatrical productions. For more information, visit www.festivalbarrioantiguo.org.mx
International Musical Festival of Morelia (Festival Internacional de Musica de Morelia Miguel Bernal Jimenez) Morelia, Michoacan. Created in 1989 and named after Mexico’s famous composer Miguel Bernal Jimenez, this annual festival features performances by musicians from all over the world and takes place in beautiful settings throughout Morelia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cumbia, Salsa and Merengue International Festival (Festival Internacional de Cumbia, Salsa y Merengue) Manzanillo, Colima. National and international artists participate in this musical festival, which takes place in the beautiful and scenic port city of Manzanillo.
Morelia Annual Golf and Spa Expo (Tianguis Golf & Spa Mexico) Morelia, Michoacan. This annual event is the most important Golf and Spa show in Mexico, bringing together the best that Mexico has to offer in these increasingly important segments.
International Puerto Vallarta Sailfish and Marlin Tournament Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Sailfish, Marlin, Tuna, and Dorado (Mahi) anglers will compete for cash prizes during this annual tournament, organized to promote Puerto Vallarta as a culturally rich tourist destination both nationally and internationally. Prizes include new cars, fully-equipped Nava boats, cash prizes, and all-expense-paid trips to destinations in Mexico and abroad.
NOV 20: Mexican Revolution Day (Dia de la Revolucion Mexicana) Nationwide. This day marks the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, with parades and celebrations occurring throughout the country.
Annual Jazz Festival San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. One of the most cultural and artistic towns in Mexico, San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato will be hosting this music festival. The Annual Jazz Festival is an opportunity to show some of the histories behind Jazz as well as the history and culture that San Miguel de Allende offers to its visitors.
Concert of Bells (Concierto de las Campanas) Cholula, Puebla. More than 100 bells from the different churches in Cholula participate in this annual celestial concert of bells. Townspeople sit atop roofs with lit candles to enjoy the harmonious spectacle. The town of Cholula boasts the greatest quantity of churches and alters in Mexico with a total of 365 in the district, one for each day of the year.
Grand Pacific Marathon (Gran Maraton Pacifico) Mazatlan, Sinaloa. Runners from the world over participate in this challenging race that takes place at the Pearl of the Pacific and featuring miles and miles of beautiful scenery.
International Book Fair in Guadalajara (Feria Internacional del Libro, or FIL) Guadalajara, Jalisco. Created nearly two decades ago by the University of Guadalajara, the FIL is an eclectic celebration of literature, art, and culture, representing the second largest book fair in the world and, by far, the largest and most diverse international offering of publications in the Spanish language. Throughout the nine-day event, writers, scholars, artists, and literary connoisseurs from all walks of life fill the halls of the Guadalajara Expo Center and submerge themselves in the best that the literary world has to offer.
National Tequila Fair (Feria Nacional del Tequila) Tequila, Jalisco. Held annually in celebration of Mexico’s beloved spirit, the tequila fair features an exposition of the primary tequila makers throughout the country, with demonstrations on how this famous spirit is made. The fair also features charreadas (Mexican rodeo events), cockfights, mariachi serenades, and fireworks.
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries (Santuarios de la Mariposa Monarca) Several areas in Michoacan State. Every year, millions of Monarch butterflies migrate from Canada and the U.S. to the Oyamel forests near Angangueo, Michoacan in the fall, hibernating for winter and mating in the spring. Two sanctuaries are open to the public.
Mazatlan International Golf Tournament-Mazatlan, Sinaloa. The Golf Committee of the El Code Golf & Country Club hosts this annual amateur golf tournament with categories for adults, seniors, women, etc. Prizes will include cars, cash, and much more.
National Silver Fair (Feria Nacional del Plata) Taxco, Guerrero. Taxco is the region of the country known as Mexico’s “silver heartland,” as it is the source of much of the lucrative silver mining and export business. Every year Mexico’s best silversmiths compete against artists from around the world in this lavish festival including concerts, dances, fireworks, and a seemingly endless supply of unique items for sale.
Balsas River Nautical Marathon (Maraton Nautico del Rio Balsas) Bay of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. Considered the most important jet boat marathon in Mexico and one of the most important events of its kind in the Americas, the 34th Balsas River Nautical Marathon covers almost 500 miles in six consecutive days and welcomes international participants from all over the world.
International Sailfish Tournament (Torneo Internacional de Pesca de Pez Vela) Manzanillo, Colima. Since 1957, Manzanillo has been referred to as the sailfish capital of the world due to the large number of sailfish caught in its waters. Manzanillo’s Sport Fishing Club will be sponsoring this event.
FEB 2: Candlemas Day (Dia de la Candelaria) Nationwide. Celebrated with candlelit processions and dancing in many towns throughout the country, this holiday marks the end of the Christmas celebration. On this national holiday, families and friends gather together to enjoy tamales and atole (a hot, sweet drink thickened with cornflour). The musical events, parades, and dances are especially memorable in the port city of Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, where a bull is rafted into town and released.
Carnival (Carnaval) Nationwide. Celebrations begin five days before Ash Wednesday and are marked by parades, parties, and dancing in the streets. Some of the most famous and festive celebrations are held in the port towns of Veracruz, Campeche, Mazatlan www.carnavalmazatlan.com.mx, and Ensenada, while Carnaval in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas is one of the most important indigenous celebrations in Mexico, involving purification ceremonies and ethnic dances that depict Mayan legends.
International Contemporary Film Festival of Mexico City (Festival Internacional del Cine Contemporaneo de la Ciudad de Mexico) Mexico City. Hosted by Cinemex, the Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival is a ten-day showcase featuring 150 international pictures, among them winners at the Venice, Berlin, and Cannes film festivals.
Annual Half International Marathon Guadalajara, Jalisco. The streets of Guadalajara will rumble with the sounds of pounding feet and wheelchairs as this traditional marathon enjoys its 19th consecutive year. The 21-kilometer course will be run by participants from all over the world.
Seashells and Wine Festival-Ensenada, Baja California. This exquisite festival will take place at the Riviera Cultural Center, celebrating the fine wine from the region.
El “Cielo” International Nature Festival (Festival Internacional de la Naturaleza “El Cielo”) Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas. This festival welcomes hundreds of visitors to interact with nature in one of Mexico’s most famous biosphere reserves.
Mexican Tennis Open Acapulco, Guerrero. The Mexican Open is the most important tennis open in Latin America and ranks fifteenth in the world. It is part of the International Gold Series ATP and Tier III of the WTA. Champions from this tournament will go to the US Open in New York.
Annual Extreme Adventure Competition Husteca, Hidalgo. This competition, which will take place in the mountainous region of the state, has been labeled by top international racers as one of the most important adventure competitions around the globe. Cash prizes are awarded at the competition. This year’s route will cover many different disciplines including kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, canyoneering, swimming, and caving. Teams from countries well known for their adventure enthusiasts like Australia, the U.S., Sweden, Spain, and Mexico will be represented.
Tapachula International Fair (Feria Internacional de Tapachula) Tapachula, Chiapas. A cattle trade show featuring livestock, rides, bullfights, rodeos, cockfights, and sport races, with a cultural twist.
Cuernavaca Flower Fair (Feria de la Flor) Cuernavaca, Morelos. This fair fills Cuernavaca’s streets with flower booths and gardening competitions. At night, everyone gathers at the main plaza for a laser light show. Pay a visit to the famous Borda Gardens, once the residence of Emperor Maximillian and his wife Carlota. Tourism in Cuernavaca.
Xochimilco Festival Xochimilco, Mexico City. Held annually two weeks before Easter, this four-day event dates back to precolonial times when Mexicans honored the goddess of flowers (Xochipilli) and the goddess of dance (Maculxochitl) to ensure good harvests. Every year, a young woman is crowned La Flor Mas Bella del Ejido (the most beautiful flower of the land) who presides over colorful parades on flower-decorated barges along Xochimilco’s famed canals. Culture in Mexico City.
Xalapa Fair (Feria de Xalapa) Xalapa, Veracruz. Referred to as the Athens of Veracruz, the capital city of Xalapa is bursting with culture. The Xalapa fair dates back to the 18th century and offers a variety of artworks, handicrafts, and unique products from the region at excellent prices. The fair features activities for all ages. Culture in Xalapa.
San Marcos Fair (Feria de San Marcos) Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes State. A colorful three-week festival featuring handicrafts, bullfights, folk dancing, games, cockfights, fireworks, cultural events, and local cuisine. The National Poetry Prize and a traditional competition of typical dress also take place during this international celebration. Culture in Aguascalientes.
Cultural Festival of Zacatecas (Festival Cultural de Zacatecas) Zacatecas, Zacatecas State. This festival features displays of literature, dance, theater, music and art in several venues throughout Zacatecas State.
Annual Mexico City Festival (Festival del Centro Historico) Mexico City, Mexico. Regarded as one of Latin America’s most vibrant celebrations of art and culture, this two-week festival features diverse events including opera, concerts, theater, art exhibits, dance productions and gourmet fare. More than a million local and international spectators will flock to Mexico City for the festival, and proceeds go toward the rescue and restoration of the art and architecture of Mexico City’s historic downtown area.
Annual Newport Beach to Ensenada International Yacht Race Ensenada, Baja California. Yachting competition originating in Newport Beach, California to Ensenada with more than 50 participating yachts, featuring a festival and ceremony upon their arrival in Ensenada.
Nopales Cactus Festival (Festival de Nopales) Tlaxcalancingo, Puebla. This small town on the outskirts of Puebla celebrates the nopal (tender edible cactus) annually with a food fair featuring cactus salads, stews, and even ice cream.
Tabasco Fair (Feria de Tabasco) Parque Villahermosa, Tabasco. Famous for its Olmec artifacts, Villahermosa Park hosts this colorful state fair where 17 counties share their best in cuisine, arts, and crafts. Visitors can also enjoy the colorful boat parade over the Grijalva River and the outdoor theater in the evenings where plays are presented by each county.
Rosarito-Ensenada Fun Ride, Rosarito Beach, Baja California. Head south of the border with 10,000 of your closest amigos for this fun ride along the Pacific Coast and inland through rural countryside from Rosarito Beach to Ensenada, Mexico. The event course is 50 miles of paved highway on the old Free Road from Rosarito Beach south to the city of Ensenada. Avid cyclists should finish in two hours, with the average time to complete is 4 1/2 hours.
Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 RaceEnsenada, Baja California. This race will welcome more than 280 participants from 15 countries. More than 250 vehicles competing in 24 professional and five sportsman categories for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and ATVs will participate in this race which covers 450 miles of mountains, valleys, deserts, forest and gorgeous Pacific coastline. The race will finish in downtown Ensenada inside the Deportivo Antonio Palacios Baseball Stadium on 9th Street and Guadalupe Avenue.
International Marimba Festival (V Festival Internacional de Marimbistas) Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. Chiapas comes alive with the rich sounds of marimba music featuring regional and international musicians.
Corpus Christi Fair (Feria de Corpus Christi) Papantla, Veracruz. This annual festival features prehispanic ceremonies said to promote fertility and communicate with the heavens. Four voladores, or flyers, perform spectacular feats, launching themselves from the top of a pole (often reaching as high as 100 feet) and slowly descending as the ropes around the pole unwind. During this ancient Nahuatl and Totonac Indian ritual, each volador circles the pole 13 times before reaching the ground, for a total of 52 turns.
San Pedro Fair Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. The traditions and pastimes of Mexico’s artistic city of Tlaquepaque, on the outskirts of Guadalajara, will be enjoyed by thousands at this annual event, taking place at the Unidad Valentín Gomez Farias Children will take part in a variety of games and activities, including soccer, wrestling, and even a youth triathlon, while adults will enjoy the more traditional elements of art and mariachi while savoring the tastes of the authentic Mexican cuisine. The most exciting part of the fair is the “Tlaquepaqueada,” a smaller-scale of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls.
Annual Voladero International Film and Video Festival (Festival Internacional de Cine y Video “Voladero”) Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. Last year, more than 400 films competed in this festival which is quickly becoming a must-attend for filmmakers and film lovers the world over.
Huamantla Fair (Feria de Huamantla) Huamantla, Tlaxcala. At this event, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, churches and miles of city streets are draped in a beautiful tapestry of colorful flower petals and decorative sawdust. Running of the bulls follows the solemn event.
International Chamber Music Festival (Festival Internacional de Musica de Camara) San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. A classical music festival to bid farewell to the summer, featuring award-winning international ensembles, guest musicians, and local artists performing in the city’s beautiful open gardens and the grand gothic cathedral.
Annual International “ROSETE ARANDA” Puppet Festival Huamantla, Tlaxcala. A time-honored tradition in Mexico, more than 15 cities in the state of Tlaxcala will be hosting this festival. For two weeks, a multitude of puppeteers and puppets of all colors, shapes, and sizes will invade Mexico’s smallest state. Performers come from Spain, Colombia, Cuba, Hungary, and numerous other states in Mexico.
International Amber Expo (Expo Ambar Internacional) San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Mexican amber, with its magical colors, brilliant finishes, and age-old history, is considered by many the finest in the world. With the goal of developing and integrating the amber artist community of Chiapas and promoting international recognition, this expo highlights the hand-crafted jewels of the region. Forty-eight different tones can be found in Chiapas amber, which is exhibited in a variety of forms at the event from sculptures to articles of jewelry.
Mushroom Fair of San Juanito (V Feria del Hongo) San Juanito, Chihuahua. A mushroom is a mushroom is a mushroom? Learn more about the various types of mushrooms and their diverse contributions to the culinary world through workshops, demonstrations and taste-testing. This event also features cooking contests and cultural events.
Peanut Festival (Fiesta de Mani) Mani, Yucatan. Mani is known in Mexico as the site of the infamous “Auto de Fe,” where bishop Fray Diego de Landa burned valuable Mayan codices and manuscripts in 1562. Mani is one of the most representative Mayan towns alive. This festival features local dancers, bands, traditional cuisine, live concerts, mechanical attractions, art exhibitions, and more. The festival takes place at the central plaza and offers visitors from all over the world a unique cultural experience.
Paracho Guitar Festival, Paracho, Michoacan. Come and join the festival where the most famous guitars are made in Mexico.
Morismas of Bracho (Las Morismas de Bracho) Zacatecas, Zacatecas State. A reenactment of the battles between Moors and Christians, this event involves thousands of actors and has been held annually for more than 300 years.
Chile in Walnut Sauce Festival (Festival del Chile en Nogada) Puebla, Puebla State. Mexico’s national dish is commemorated every year with several activities, including culinary conferences and samplings, as well as a competition for the largest chile, judged by the Guinness Book of World Records. Inspired by the Mexican flag, the dish contains a poblano chile (green), walnut sauce (white), with pomegranate seeds (red) sprinkled over. A must for lovers of Mexican cuisine!
October Festivals (Fiestas de Octubre) Guadalajara, Jalisco. Guadalajara sparkles with this month-long event involving concerts, dances, cultural exhibits, and food and attracting visitors and performers from all over the world.
Tamaulipas International Festival (Festival Internacional Tamaulipas) Tamaulipas. Held in October every year, this festival features a variety of cultural and artistic events including exhibits, plays, concerts, and cinema, turning the entire state into a hotbed of culture.
Annual Sinaloa Arts Festival Mazatlan, Sinaloa. The Pacific coast state of Sinaloa will feature an elaborate celebration of art, dance, and music, showcasing local, national, and international artists and more than 450 performers hailing from countries as far as South Africa, Yugoslavia, Argentina, and Spain.
Morelia Film Festival (Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia) Morelia, Michoacan. Now in its tenth year, this festival is one of the most important, this film festival gathers together an international group of filmmakers, critics, and actors in order to promote the new talents of Mexican cinema and provide a forum for the international exhibition.
National Mole Fair (Feria Nacional del Mole) San Pedro Actopan, Estado de Mexico. Just south of Mexico City, thousands of varieties of mole will be prepared for sampling and competition. This spicy sauce is a Mexican staple and made of unsweetened chocolate, peppers, and spices, often served with meat or poultry. Eat your fill and take some home; mole paste stays fresh for several months in the freezer.
International Festival of Contemporary Dance (Festival Internacional de Danza Contemporanea) San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi State. Festival celebrating contemporary dance and featuring national and international artists from countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, United States, Japan, and Venezuela.
International Cervantes Festival (Festival Cervantino Internacional) Guanajuato, Guanajuato State. One of the most important cultural events in Mexico, this annual festival fills the streets of this colonial town with performers and visitors from all over the world.
Fly All-Release Rooster Fish Tournament Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. Flyfish take center stage during this first international fishing tournament that focuses on the preservation of the species.
International Nacho Fest (Festival Internacional del Nacho) Piedras Negras, Coahuila. Every year this event is organized to promote the notorious nacho, one of the region’s culinary contributions to Mexican cuisine.
Tlaxcala Fair (Feria de Tlaxcala) Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala State. In honor of all Saints and the dead, the annual festivities offer all sorts of cultural, sporting and culinary events, including bullfighting, rodeos, cockfighting, and escaramuzas, a women’s choreographed horse-riding show. In addition, Ms. Feria de Tlaxcala is crowned every year, highlighting the beautiful people from the region.
Annual Culinary Heritage and Cultural Tourism Festival (Congreso Sobre Patrimonio Gastronomico y Turismo Cultural) Puebla, Puebla State. The colonial city of Puebla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrates Mexico’s rich culinary heritage as well as promotes competition among regional cuisines and the nation’s top chefs, making it a favorite among Mexican and international food experts alike as well as people just looking for good food and a good time. The festival features food workshops, delectable samplings, cultural events, and an academic program.
International Cervantine Barroque Festival (Festival Internacional Barroco Cervantino) San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. An extension of Guanajuato’s popular Cerventine Festival, this event spans nine days and features more than 150 cultural and artistic presentations, gathering together more than 900 regional, national and international artists. Performances take place at the Casa de Cultura, the Hermanos Dominguez Theater, Cathedral Square and the Daniel Zebadua Theater.
Festival of Skulls (Festival de las Calaveras) Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes State. This macabre festival features a variety of morbid art exhibits, performing arts and a parade of skeletons, with contests for the most creative costumes and artwork. Skulls of different sizes and materials are on display as well as games and stand with traditional food and seasonal fruits.
November Festivals (Fiestas de Noviembre) Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. The events during this month include the annual Pipeline of Mexico, Zicatela Beach’s International Surfing Tournament, the International Sailfish Tournament, and the Coastal Dance Festival.
Annual Air Balloon Festival Leon, Guanajuato. The largest festival in Latin America with more than 60 balloons and pilots from all over the globe participating.
Catch and Release Sailfish Challenge Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. Sailfish take center stage during this first international fishing tournament that focuses on the preservation of the species.
Annual International Tequila Festival Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Count on the streets of Puerto Vallarta to be full of “spirit” this winter as the Annual International Tequila Festival kicks off in December. Tequila aficionados from all walks of life are expected to attend this week-long event, but don’t let the name “Tequila Festival” fool you. This exposition of prestigious beverages will extend to such spirits as champagne, cognac, sake and bourbon, among others. Not only will attendees be able to savor the tastes of these fine drinks, but they’ll also enjoy a variety of musical, theatrical and cultural performances hosted by this Pacific coast city.
World WBS Billfish Tournament – Mazatlan, Sinaloa. Bluewater anglers will congregate in Mazatlan for this annual world billfish tournament. Prizes include Mercedes automobiles, a magnificent Marlin bronze trophy designed by the artist Geoffrey Smith and a gold championship ring.
DEC 12: Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Fiesta de la Virgin de Guadalupe) Nationwide. The most important holiday in Mexico in which millions of pilgrims converge on the Mexico City Basilica of the country’s patron virgin to pay tribute. The square in front of the Basilica is a stage for singing, dancing, and celebration.
Festival of San Cristobal de las Casas San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. This two-week festival in Chiapas includes a procession by the Tzotzil and Tzetzal Indians, marimba music and a parade of horses.
DEC 16-24: Posadas Navideñas Nationwide. Processions recreating Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, in which people holding candles go door to door to seek shelter. Festivities include piñatas, Christmas caroling, and special foods and sweets.
Posada and Piñata Fair (Feria de la Posada y Piñata) Alcoman, Estado de Mexico. An annual celebration near Mexico City of the Posadas procession and this children’s party staple. Among the piñatas on display are those made from clay, traditional models with seven points that symbolize the seven deadly sins, and those made from cardboard with popular children’s designs. Workshops in piñata-making are also offered.
Festival of the Radishes (Festival de los Rabanos) Oaxaca, Oaxaca State. Local artisans and sculptors set up stalls around the main square to display their elaborate pieces of art made entirely from radishes! The local crop is used for creating nativity scenes and famous Mexican figures. Balloons and birds crafted from local flowers add even more color.
Las Calendas Oaxaca, Oaxaca State. The districts of Oaxaca City prepare floats and costumes for processions held throughout the city. The parades feature marmots (translucent paper spheres lit from within and carried aloft on poles) and giant paper mache people whose arms flop around as the person hidden inside dances.Liberating of the Turtles Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. Most hotels in the region participate in a special marine animal protection program which includes collecting and protecting turtle eggs until they hatch and are ready for release. The releasing event symbolizes the beginning of a new year full of hope for these marvelous animals.