Mexican Holidays: Celebrations with Local Flair

Offering virtually every type of landscape possible-from vast deserts to sandy beaches to imposing mountains-Mexico is the perfect place for tourists to escape. And if you’re looking for a reason to celebrate, Mexico offers plenty of them. Mexicans take great pride in providing a spectacular experience for those wanting to join in their many festivities celebrated throughout the year. If you want to have an even more unique and spectacular celebration, make sure to visit a town noted for its unique twists on national holidays. Some popular festivals and the most notable towns to celebrate them in are:

�· Dia de los Santos Reyes (Three Kings Day)
As a tribute to the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem, children throughout Mexico receive gifts left by the three kings. While this holiday is recognized country-wide, Leon Guanajuato celebrates its founding with one of the largest fairs in the nation during this time. Parades, plays, craft exhibits, music, and dances are all standard attractions at this unique celebration.

�· Veracruz Gulf Coast Carnival
Known for its huge parties, music dances, and parades, this festival is celebrated in February and March exactly nine days before Ash Wednesday. The ONLY place to celebrate is in (where else?) Veracruz, so plan on booking accommodations and flights early.

�· Chitzen Itza
Expect to see the Kukulcan snake god appear, along with various other forms (dancing, parties, etc�) of entertainment during the March equinox-when day and night are evenly balanced. Without a doubt, the Yucatan temple (located 117 miles from Cancun) is the best place to witness the shadow of the snake-god slither down the pyramid of El Castillo-just as Mayan architects planned when they created the architectural wonder.

�· Semana Santa
During Easter week, you can count on seeing the typical Mexican festival fare with unique twists in each region of the country. During this time of year, millions of monarch butterflies descend into the Los Azufres National Park in Morelia (the capitol of Michoacan). If you’re looking for a visual spectacle of nature like no other, think of celebrating Semana Santa in Morelia.

�· Cinco de Mayo
As the most famous of all Mexican celebrations, this “Fifth of May” party is held nationwide with (you guessed it) parades, parties, and lots of entertainment. Since Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s version of Independence Day, expect lavish festivities to take place all over Mexico. For this holiday, virtually any destination in Mexico offers boundless opportunities for a marvelous experience.

�· Day of the Dead
This celebration has long been considered the Mexican equivalent of Halloween, and takes place from October through November. Without a doubt, Patcuaro is one of the best places in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead, including the island of Janitzio on Lake Patacuaro. Each year, the whole area-noted for colorful fishing canoes and a large statue of Morelos y Pavon placed atop a local mountain-transforms into a macabre celebration to rival any Halloween ever celebrated.

No matter what holiday you choose to take part in-or where you choose to celebrate it-Mexico offers many ways for visitors from all over the world to share in its unique culture and beautiful scenery.

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