JAN 1: New Year's Day (Año Nuevo) 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.
JAN 6: Three Kings' Day (Dia de los Santos Reyes) The Feast of the Epiphany recalls the arrival in Bethlehem of the three wise men 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 cornflour cakes wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves) and atole (a hot, sweet drink thickened with corn flour) to the guests.
FEB 2: Candlemas Day (Dia de la Candelaria) 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 corn flour).
FEB 3-8: Carnival (Carnaval) Celebrations begin five days before Ash Wednesday and are marked by parades, parties and dancing in the streets.
MAR 20-27: Holy Week (Semana Santa) 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.
SEP 15–16: Mexican Independence Day (Dia de la Independencia Mexicana) 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.
NOV 1-2: Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) 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.
NOV 20: Mexican Revolution Day (Dia de la Revolucion Mexicana) This day marks the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, with parades and celebrations occurring throughout the country.
DEC 16–24: Posadas: 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.
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