It goes without saying how lively and colorful Mexican people are and how proud they are of their country. Who wouldn’t be, really? They are a land full of delicious cuisine, hard-working individuals and amazing ancient traditions that they keep celebrating to this day. As a regular tourist to this destination, you should embrace some of the most divine and popular traditions of the Latin American nation. After all, if anyone knows how to throw a party and put on a show, it’s the Mexicans.
Day of the Dead
Surely you have heard of this holiday before. Many compare it to the traditional American Halloween, but in reality it is everything but. The holiday is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November every year and it is focused on honoring the dead through a host of different festivals and celebrations. The first day celebrates the adults that have left, whereas the second day is all about the children.
The dead are supposedly offended by sadness and would rather their lives be celebrated, which is why the remaining family and friends create a shrine and decorate it with the deceased’s favorite drinks, food, snacks, flowers and more. That way, the dead are guided back from the underworld for a day to spend with their families reminiscing the times they spent together in life.
The day is perfect for indulging in Mexican delicacies such as tamales and Calaveras which are sugar skulls with the name of people on the forehead. These are gifted as a symbol of friendship wherein they will be remembered once gone. The catrina custom is quite popularly worn by men and women alike, as well.
Mexico has a strong Catholic influence that dates back to the Spanish conquest. This allows Mexico to participate in a wide array of Christmas celebrations that make the holiday season quite a special one. Amongst them are the posadas, which take place the nine days prior to Christmas Eve. As a religious holiday, posadas honor the actual nativity of Christ.
During these nine days, family, friends and neighbors get together to reenact the pilgrimage to Bethlehem when Mary was pregnant and Joseph led her by horse in search of a room to sleep in (posada means inn in Spanish). The reenactment divides the group between the peregrines and the hosts. Outside the house, Mary and Joseph (and the rest of the party) sing in unison asking for a roof for the night. The hosts sing back until they reach an agreement and let them in.
While the celebration is heavily religious, it is celebrated widely focusing mostly on the seven-cone piñata (each cone representing a capital sin) which is filled with fruits such as sugar canes, oranges and jicama. Drinks (especially ponche) flow freely and Mexican traditional food is served after the pilgrimage.
Any country’s Independence Day is a huge event, of course. Everyone loves celebrating the freedom granted upon that special day that gives back identity and unites people. It is no different for Mexico, where every 15th of September, the Independence from the Spanish conquest is widely and happily celebrated.
Although political strains have had people swearing off the celebration, Mexican pride always comes through and their free-spirited and lively soul shines. The event is all about the Grito de Dolores, when Miguel Hidalgo gave the cry of independence in the town of Dolores. Besides giving the grito every year, Mexicans also indulge in a great traditional feast.
The traditional food for this special day is chiles en nogada, pozole and tequila. The whole country is decorated in the flag’s colors (red, white and green), men and women dress up in traditional clothing or with the colors of the flag and the Viva Mexico cry is heard throughout in unison.
Día de los Reyes Magos
The Three Kings’ Day is a widespread celebration across Hispanic countries and is borrowed from Spanish folklore. Although Santa Claus is back in the North Pole, Christmas festivities carry on in Latin American and conclude on January 6th when the celebration of biblical adoration of baby Jesus by the three Kings takes place.
According to the Bible, the kings followed the Northern star carrying gifts for baby Jesus until they found him. That is why children across Latin America and Spain receive gifts during this holiday, as well.
Of course food could not be absent from the celebration. Mexico celebrates with a delicious rosca de reyes that is stuffed with baby Jesus toys. Whoever gets one in their slice is forced to cook the tamales on Candelaria Day (day of the candles) on February 2nd for everyone present during the rosca gathering.
There are many others you could embrace, as well, but we’re keeping our pick for now. You can enjoy them all at any of the Karisma Hotels & Resorts properties located in Mexico, so make sure to book your next holiday around one of these dates to really get the feel of the wonderful Mexican traditions. Through your Exotic Travelers membership, traveling is easier than ever.