Public holidays in Mexico

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In Mexico there are three major kinds of holidays:

Dia de la Independencia or Aniversario de la Independencia, September 16, commemorates Mexico's independence from Spain and is the most important patriotic statutory holiday.[citation needed] Parades are held and many schools are closed.

Statutory holidays[edit]

Statutory holidays (referred as "feriados" or "días de asueto" in Mexico) are legislated through the federal government and ruled by the Federal Labor Law (Ley Federal del Trabajo).[1] Most workers, public and private, are entitled to take the day off with regular pay. However, some employers may require employees to work on such a holiday, but the employee must be paid:

When a statutory holiday falls on a Sunday, Monday is considered a statutory holiday; if a statutory holiday falls on Saturday, Friday will be considered a statutory holiday.

DateEnglish nameSpanish nameRemarks
January 1New Year's DayAño NuevoFirst day of the year.
February 5Constitution DayDía de la ConstituciónCelebrates the Promulgation of the 1857 and 1917 Constitutions (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
Observance: First Monday of February.
March 21Benito Juárez's birthdayNatalicio de Benito JuárezCommemorates President Benito Juárez's birthday on March 21, 1806 (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
Observance: Third Monday of March
May 1Labor DayDía del TrabajoCommemorates the Mexican workers' union movements (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
September 16Independence DayDía de la IndependenciaCommemorates the start of the Independence War by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1810 (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
November 20Revolution DayDía de la RevoluciónCommemorates the start of the Mexican Revolution by Francisco I. Madero in 1910 (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
Observance: Third Monday of November.
December 1Change of Federal GovernmentTransmisión del Poder Ejecutivo FederalEvery six years, when a new President is sworn in office.
Next observance: December 1, 2018.
December 25ChristmasNavidadChristmas celebration; secular and religious holiday.

In addition to these dates, election days designated by federal and local electoral laws are also statutory holidays.

Civic holidays[edit]

DateEnglish NameSpanish NameRemarks
February 19Mexican Army DayDía del EjércitoCelebrates the Mexican Army on the date of its 1913 foundation.
 ("Día de la Lealtad"), when President Madero was escorted by the Cadets of the Militar College to the National Palace. 
February 24Flag DayDía de la BanderaCelebrates the current Flag of Mexico and honors the previous ones. Flag Day was implemented by President Lázaro Cárdenas in 1937.
March 18Anniversary of the Oil ExpropriationAniversario de la Expropiación petroleraCelebrates the Oil Expropriation by President Gral. Lázaro Cárdenas in 1938.
April 21Heroic Defense of VeracruzHeroica Defensa de VeracruzCommemorates the defense against the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914 by cadets, staff and faculty of the Heroica Escuela Naval Militar and personnel of the Mexican Navy.
May 5Fifth of MayCinco de MayoCelebrates the victory of the Mexican Army, led by Gral. Ignacio Zaragoza against French forces in the city of Puebla, on May 5, 1862.

Also widely celebrated in the United States. US "celebration" of this Mexican historical event is largely a result of promotions in the US by liquor, beer, and bars/taverns/clubs/restaurants since the 1980s. For many years Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the US promoted Cinco de Mayo as Mexican Independence Day which is actually September 16. Although Mexican citizens feel very proud of the meaning of Cinco de Mayo, it is not a national holiday in Mexico, but it is an official holiday in the State of Puebla where the mentioned battle took place.

May 8Miguel Hidalgo's birthdayNatalicio de Miguel HidalgoCommemorates the birth in 1753 of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the initiator of the Mexican Independence War.
June 1National Maritime DayDía de la MarinaCelebrates both the Mexican Navy and Mexico's maritime sectors.
September 13Anniversary of the "Boy Heroes" or "Heroic Cadets"Día de los Niños HéroesCelebrates the Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican–American War of 1847 and the heroic and ultimate sacrifice that the Niños Héroes gave to the nation.
September 16Cry of DoloresGrito de DoloresCelebrates the Grito de Dolores, an event that marked the start of the independence war against Spain on the eve of September 16, 1810. It took place at a church chapel in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, led by a Creole Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. See also Fiestas Patrias (Mexico).
September 27End of the Mexican War of IndependenceConsumación de la IndependenciaCelebrates the end of the Mexican Independence War on 1821, 11 years after Father Hidalgo started it, with the victory of the Army of the Three Guarantees.
September 30Morelos' birthdayNatalicio de José Ma. Morelos y PavónCommemorates the birth in 1765 of Father José María Morelos y Pavón, one of the founding fathers of the Mexican nation.
October 12Columbus DayDescubrimiento de AméricaCommemorates the Discovery of the Americas in 1492 by the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus.


DateEnglish NameSpanish NameRemarks
January 6EpiphanyDía de los Reyes MagosCelebrates the Biblical New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. Traditionally, children receive toys, and people buy a pastry called rosca de reyes. Anyone who bites into the bread and finds a figurine of the Christ child must host a party for the Day of Candlemas (February 2). It is not a state holiday.
February 14Valentine's DayDía de San ValentínCelebrates amorous unions. On this day, traditionally, men give chocolates, flowers, jewelry, dinner and serenade to their special women, as well as to their female friends. It is not a state holiday.
April 30Children's DayDía del NiñoHonors all the children. It is not a state holiday.
May 10Mother's DayDía de las MadresHonors all the mothers throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
May 15Teacher's DayDía del MaestroHonors all the teachers throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
May 23Students' DayDía del estudianteHonors all the students throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
Third Sunday of JuneFather's DayDía del PadreHonors all the fathers throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
November 1All Saints' Day (Day of the Dead)Día de Todos los SantosHonors dead relatives and/or friends (who were less than 18 years of age and unmarried) with candles, food and flower offerings, altars, and pre-Columbian and Christian rituals. It is not a state holiday.
November 2All Souls' Day (Day of the Dead)Día de los Fieles DifuntosHonors dead relatives and/or friends (who were more than 18 years of age or married) with candles, food and flower offerings, altars, and pre-Columbian and Christian rituals. It is not a state holiday.
December 12Day of the Virgin of GuadalupeDía de la Virgen de GuadaludeCelebrates the day that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on Tepeyac hill to the native Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. It is not a state holiday.
December 16–24Las PosadasLas PosadasCommemorates the Biblical New Testament story of Joseph and Mary's search for shelter in Bethlehem. Consists of candlelight processions as well as stops at various nativity scenes.
December 24Christmas EveNochebuenaCelebrates the eve of the nativity of Jesus, as both a secular and religious winter holiday. The traditional treats for this holiday are buñuelos, tamales and atole or champurrado. Sometimes they eat gelatina de colores (different flavors of Jell-O and a milk-based Jell-O mixed together to make a colorful treat) Las Posadas are celebrated nine days before Nochebuena, usually accompanied by a piñata party for children and dance music for adults.
December 25ChristmasNavidadChristmas celebration; secular and religious holiday.
December 28Day of the InnocentsDia de los Santos InnocentesOn this day, people pull practical jokes on each other. It is equivalent to the U.S. version of April Fools' Day (April 1). People must not believe anything that other people say nor let them borrow any amount of money. If any person has fallen victim of the joke, the person pulling the joke will say ¡Inocente palomita...!, literally meaning 'Innocent little dove' (equivalent to saying April Fools!).
December 31New Year's EveAño Nuevo VìsperaMexicans celebrate New Year's Eve or locally known as Año Nuevo, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year's, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. Another tradition is making a list of all the bad or unhappy events from the current year; before midnight, this list is thrown into a fire, symbolizing the removal of negative energy from the new year.[1] At the same time, thanks is expressed for all the good things had during the year that is coming to its end so that they will continue to be had in the new year.[2]

Mexicans celebrate by having a dinner at 1:00am with their families, the traditional meal being turkey and mole, a tradition which has now spanned worldwide. Those who want to party generally go out afterwards, to local parties or night clubs. If you're in Mexico, you can still enjoy festivities in the street. In Mexico City there is a huge street festival on New Year's Eve; celebrations center around the Zocalo, the city's main square.[3] You can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: "Feliz año nuevo!" People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Auld Lang Syne.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ley Federal del Trabajo" (PDF) (in Spanish). January 3, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  2. ^ "Mexican customs for the New Year". Focus on Mexico. Retrieved 2010-12-31. 
  3. ^ "New Year's Eve in Mexico - Año Nuevo Celebrations". 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2010-12-31. 

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