International Office - Aberystwyth University

Routes Lingomap: Celebrating in Mexico

Mexico holds its own when it comes to celebrations and festivals, standing first in line when wanting to have a good time. It is part of the culture to participate in literally every celebration, from the most particular ones, like the Mexican Independence Day, to the ones that are common worldwide, like Christmas. When asked what’s a typical Mexican celebration or festival, Mexicans usually bombard you with a long, never ending, list of feasts. Some are: Mexican Independence Day, celebrated on the 16th of September, which commemorates the end of Spain’s ruling over New Spain, later known as Mexico; another celebration is called Cinco de Mayo, its translation from Spanish being “5th of May”, which is a festivity focused on the commemoration of the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory against French forces in the battle of Puebla, lead by General Ignacio Zaragoza. Another more exciting holiday is “el Dia de Muertos” (day of the dead), a holiday that focuses on gathering people to pray and remember friends and family members who have passed away, and help support their spiritual journey. The holiday begins on the October 31st, also knowns as Halloween, and ends on November 2nd. This holiday is world widely known as All Saint’s Day. Little sanctuaries with hand painted wax skulls are set all around the country. Other holidays are also celebrated in Mexico, like “el Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe” (Virgin of Guadalupe Day), celebrated on the 12th of December, and Revolution Day, celebrated on the 20th of November.

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Now that we know some of the most common holidays in Mexico, the next question is: how big of a celebration are they? The answer is, pretty big! Most of the above-mentioned holidays are celebrated nationwide. During some of these days, adults do not work, while children do not go to school. Instead, celebrations are held on the streets on every neighborhood, village or city, small or big, filling the air with music and fun. During these days, you can see the famous groups called de Mariachis, which play music for almost the entire duration of the festivity. Here is an example of what they look like:

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Festivals are usually age-friendly, as families celebrate together, including everyone, from the older members of the family, to the children. Even though they are allowed to be part of the feast, children are safely kept away from the bits that are not appropriate to their age, like drinking. Alcohol circulates a lot throughout these celebrations, but its monitored so it doesn’t land into the wrong hands. Even though some feasts exist to celebrate a special day in the history of the country, and some others are religious oriented, there still are some feasts that are just around for the fun of it. Some of which are: The Hot-air Balloons International Festival, held every year in Leon, in which hundreds of hot-air balloons fly in the night sky while a famous singer or band entertains the participants, and the Cinema International Festival, which is set up for those who love to remember periods of time by watching movies on the big screen.

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Over all Mexico always tries to keep up with the celebrations and festivities around the world: come check it out when you’re ready to have some fun!

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