Mexican Holidays and Traditions: Everything You Need to Know to Celebrate

Whether you’re living full-time or part-time in Mexico, engaging in its many traditions is a great way to get to know the culture. Many people recognize Mexico for its beautiful white-sand beaches and picturesque Caribbean Sea. But there is much more than just that. The culture in Mexico is like no other. Its gastronomy is diverse and delicious. Unsurprisingly, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage. You will be enriched in the heritage and the Mexican holidays and traditions, regardless of where you decide to spend your retirement. Here are the most popular Mexican holidays to celebrate throughout the year.

Mexico Independence Day

Mexico Independence Day

While many confuse it with Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day is actually celebrated on September 16th. They became independent from Spanish governance in 1810, now marking 208 years of freedom. This is one of the largest celebrated Mexican holidays throughout Mexico, comparable to July 1st in Canada or July 4th in the United States. During this time, you will see Mexicans proudly wearing the colors of their country: red, white and green. The celebrations include parades, fireworks and dances in many cities. At home, locals prepare an array of traditional dishes such as pozole and chiles en nogada, which are the trademark foods for the holiday.

At 11pm, the President comes out to the balcony at Mexico City’s National Palace to give the Grito de Dolores. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave this famous speech at the town of Dolores in the early morning of September 16th, 1810. This marked the beginning of the fight for independence. The President repeats the speech each year, while Mexicans cry back “viva” after celebrating famous names that brought the independence to Mexico. At the end, he yells “Viva Mexico” three times, ringing the bell, marking the beginning of the celebration. The Municipal Presidents of major city squares replicate this tradition, as well.

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead shrine

This is perhaps one of the most widely known Mexican holidays across the world. Mexicans do not grieve death like other countries do. In fact, death becomes a celebration of someone’s life and is very colorful. Day of the Dead takes place on November 1st and 2nd. Locals celebrate Dia de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) on the 1st, which celebrates the life of children who have passed. The second day is Dia de los Difuntos (Day of the Dead), which celebrates adults.

The holiday celebrates all loved ones who have passed by visiting them at the cemeteries with the whole family bringing them offerings of their favorite stuff in life. The central piece is the pan de muerto (day of the dead bread), which is a bread that resembles a bone structure. Sugar skulls are also a popular snack. Mexicans put up shrines throughout the house and office with pictures of the lost ones and their favorite foods and drinks. Mexicans widely believe that during these two days the dead are allowed back into the living world. They get to spend time with their family, but only those whose family set up a shrine with their photograph.

Christmas and Posadas

Christmas piñata

While Christmas is a world-wide holiday, Mexicans have a unique take on it. Mexico is a very Catholic country, and so they do the traditional posada fiesta. Posada means inn or lodging in Spanish; however, during the nine days leading up to Christmas, they become a celebration of the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Families and friends get together to reenact the journey. The family divides itself in two, one staying inside the house and the other outside. The people outside represent Mary and Joseph on their journey, while the ones inside are the ones who will allow them to stay the night so Mary can give birth to Jesus.

There is a lot of caroling and other rituals that take place. While not many people today actually celebrate Catholicism, it has become a trademark tradition that will never disappear. The posada is not only centered on the journey, but on spending time with loved ones. Matriarchs make plenty of food and drinks to go around. They bring out the piñata later to take a swing at. You will find star-shaped piñatas with seven points, representing the seven deadly sins. By breaking it, you are symbolically breaking free from sinning. People fill the piñatas traditionally with fruits such as sugar canes, oranges, jicama, and others. However, today, people put their own spin to it by adding candies and other things.

The Posadas and Christmas time in Mexico are a true celebration of the culture. You should definitely witness it in all its glory and learn about the comradery that is born from this tradition. This is definitely one of the most celebrated Mexican holidays.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo dance

The first thing to do is open with a disclaimer. Cinco de Mayo is not actually a nation-wide celebration, and it is, by no means, Mexico’s Independence Day. In 1862, Mexico was under French governance. Mexican troops defeated one of the largest French armies at the time, during the battle of Puebla, on May 5th. While Mexico lost the war, the battle spread a sense of much needed pride throughout Mexico.

Funnily enough, the quick outpouring of celebrations didn’t start in Mexico itself, but in the United States. When Mexican-Americans received word of the small victory, they fired their guns into the air and celebrated their Mexican heritage. However, the state of Puebla does celebrate Cinco de Mayo every year. Locals even get the day off from school and work. Years later, in the mid-1900s, Corona Beer was looking to enter the American market and launched the Drinko the Mayo campaign. This brought the holiday back into the eye of many people, who started celebrating it since.

Mariachi Music


If you have been to Mexico, you are probably aware of what Mariachis are. These musicians are everywhere throughout Mexico. They liven up family reunions, restaurant dinners, weddings, and other celebrations with their traditional Mariachi music. You will recognize Mariachis due to their studded attires and large hats. The tradition dates back to the 18th century and, since 2011, the musical expression is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

With so many lively and colorful traditions, Mexico is a great place to live at year-round. Almost every month there is a celebration taking place. When there isn’t something marked in the official calendar, you can trust Mexicans to make an excuse to celebrate something. If you want to experience these Mexican holidays and cultural traditions with locals and in their true expression, it’s time to start considering retirement in Mexico. Take a look at all our properties in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…we make it happen!

Mexico’s Independence Day in Playa del Carmen

The day is finally here! Mexico’s Independence Day is on September 15. If you’ve already lived this experience, perhaps you already know how it is to have a Mexican style party; but if this is your first time celebrating this huge event in Mexico, be prepared to have an awesome night.

Let’s sum up in a few words what’s Mexico’s Independence Day. Back in September 15, 1810, El Cura Miguel Hildalgo, one of the nation’s leader, motivated the town to revolt against the Spanish soldiers. His speech is known as El Grito de Dolores, Cry of Dolores in English. Although Mexico’s definitive liberation was on September 21, 1821, Mexicans celebrate their Independence Day on September 15.

Needless to say, this date is extremely important for Mexicans, who will transfer their Mexican spirit to any foreigner willing to celebrate this holiday. If you’re looking for ideas for how to celebrate El Grito, here’s a list of great places in Playa del Carmen where you will surely have fun.

But if you want to celebrate like a Mexican, then you should go to the plaza 28 de Julio, where you can witness the traditional ceremony, followed by fireworks. This event is starting at 7:00 pm.

  1. Mexican Party at The Carmen Hotel

On Friday 15, The Carmen Hotel will be hosting a Noche Mexicana. This party will include live music, Mariachis, art exhibition, Mexican games and a Frida Kahlo characterization contest.

This party starts at 8:00 and ends at 12:00 am.

Where? Calle 8 with beach

  1. La Reina Roja

Mexican Party at La Reina Roja Hotel will open its doors Friday 15 at 7:00 pm. This party will include a Taco Buffet, better known in Spanish as a Taquiza. Eat as much tacos as you want at the price of 2×1.

Have a magnificent and unforgettable Mexican party at a singular and unique place: La Reina Roja.

Are you planning to assist to this event? Then head to 28 street between 5th Avenue and 10 street.

  1. Merendero Surf

Is there something better than Mexican food? Well, Merendero Surf will be hosting an amazing Mexican party this Friday the 15 at 9:00 pm. They will offer live music, Mexican food, drinks and much more to make this night unforgettable.

If you would like to join this event, go to 5th Avenue between streets 30 and 32.

  1. La Vagabunda Mexican Food with a Twist

This Mexican cuisine will offer a Taco Buffet (Taquiza), Mexican snacks, games, Mariachis and much more! The price for adult is $250 pesos, $120 for children 11+ and free for kids under 10 years old. The open bar has a cost of $200 pesos.

La Vagabunda’s party will begin at 8:00 on Friday the 15. Where? 28 Avenue and Carretera Federal.

  1. Prana Hookah and Drinks

Are you ready to live a party in one of the most animated streets in Playa del Carmen? Well, then Prana Hookah Lounge is the right place! On September 15 visit this bar and take full advantage of the Tequila and Mezcal promotion. This Mexican party will include many surprises to make sure you have an amazing night.

Be ready to Prana Hooka Lounge at 8:00 pm on 12 street between 5th Avenue and 1st street.

  1. Art Hummus

Celebrate with Art Hummus this enormous national holiday. Art Hummus will be offering a menu which includes Mezcal Papa Diablo, organic Tacos al pastor, guacamole and dessert for $350 pesos. Dance all night and have an incredible Mexican Party at Art Hummus!

If you want to join this event, visit Art Hummus at Plaza Paseo Coba in Aviacion Avenue, Playacar. 

  1. Thompson Playa del Carmen

Join Thompson this September 15 at 10 pm and celebrate the Independence Day in an amazing atmosphere. Their resident DJ Shemaya along with DJ Flight will animate this party. Thompson will be offering Ladies Night from 10 pm to 1 pm.

How to get to Thompson? Go to 12 street between 5th Avenue and 10 street.

8. Zenzi

Zenzi will be hosting a Mexican party and every margarita sold will help people affected by the earthquake last week in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Help this great cause by visiting Zenzi in 10th street and the beach.

Have a great and unforgettable Mexican Independence Day! Enjoy all the Mexican parties in Playa del Carmen and tell us how your night goes. Live this incredible experience and get to know more about the history of Mexico and its culture.


Mexican Independence Day: Celebrating Like a True Mexican

We all know that part of being an expert expat is to engage in the country’s culture and traditions. Luckily, you’ve chosen a country that lacks nothing in those areas. Mexico is a country rich in culture, heritage, gastronomy and traditions, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that September 15th is Mexican Independence Day celebration.

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Although Mexico is going through some political and economical rough patches, the spirit of the Mexicans is hard to shoot down. Many citizens will engage in el Grito in the traditional way (by watching the President give the speech on television), others will engage in the fun live with tequila in hand yelling the cry of independence from Spain.

Traditionally, Mexicans will prepare chiles en nogada, pozole and nopales, amongst other Mexican delicacies that will leave you drooling and wanting more. If you can’t wait to be a real Mexicano, here are some places where to celebrate Mexiacn Independence Day with your fellow Mexican friends…and make sure you clear your throat, because you’ll be screaming “Viva Mexico!” all night long.

Mexican Restaurants

Well, this was an obvious one! Traditional Mexican restaurants throughout the Riviera Maya are ready to serve some gourmet, top of the line, and absolutely delicious Mexican dishes to anyone visiting them. With the amount of restaurants available throughout Playa del Carmen, you are sure to find somewhere to try a delicious pozole accompanied by a tequila shot. You can either choose one of the many options down 5th Avenue (although you should probably have a reservation), or try your luck at the smaller, more local restaurants off the touristy path.

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Stroll through Playa’s Main Plaza

If you’re just out going for a walk, make sure you walk by the main square, Plaza 28 de Julio, where the City Hall is lit up in green, white and red, as well as decorated with sculptures made of lights. If you want to live the full experience, hang around. At 11 the Municipal President, Mauricio Gongora, will come out to the balcony and give the traditional Grito speech…after everyone screams “Viva Mexico!” three times, fireworks will go off, Gongora will ring a bell and everyone will celebrate in unison. To top it off, popular norteño band, Los Tigres del Norte, will be performing completely free! There will also be stalls with food and drinks to go around. Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with other,.

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Celebrate in Xoximilco (or any Xcaret park!)

Xcaret parks go all out when it’s about celebrating traditions (seriously, look into attending the park for Day of the Dead!). The Independence Day celebration is no exception to this rule, and Xoximilco, their newest park, is where the party will be. Tequila, beer, traditional Mexican food, mariachis, music, dancing, and El Grito…need I say more?

Bahía Principe Residential & Resort Celebration 

We’re sure Bahía Príncipe won’t be the only resort celebrating Independence Day, but it sure knows how to throw a party. The hotel is already quite traditional, built as a hacienda, and their full-day program involves exhibition, dances, performances, food, drinks, and the traditional Grito accompanied by a fireworks display. If you’re already a guest at the hotel, no need to go out to find anything else, you will find it all within!

12th Street

Mexicans love any good reason to celebrate, even if it’s on a Tuesday (Wednesday might be a slow business day). If you’re eager to keep drinking tequila, beer and other traditional Mexican drinks after giving el Grito, head over to 12th street and hop into any of the many clubs and bars available. They will be playing traditional Mexican music while all tourists and locals keep screaming the words we all love to hear.

If all else fails, you can always head over to Pozoles Doña Olga the next day (or any day of the year) for a delicious pozole made by true Mexican hands. Are you ready to give El Grito de Dolores? We sure are! Don’t forget to dress up in traditional Mexican colors and to be ready to see Mexicans celebrate like there is no tomorrow.

Top Mexico Real Estate is a proud American-owned real estate company, leader in its field in the Riviera Maya. If you are looking to become one true Mexican during these festive dates, make sure you check out our array of real estate options. If you have any questions, please contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives who will gladly guide you through the process of becoming a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!