In Mexico, holidays fall into three categories: Catholic religious holidays, national holidays celebrating historical events and civic holidays honoring a particular town or village. In Mexico there are fiestas held to celebrate holidays and also just to celebrate nothing in particular. Almost all celebrations have quantities of food, drink and music. Attending any one of these events is an enjoyable introduction to the culture.
January 1: New Year's Day is celebrated throughout the region.
January 6: El DĂa de Los Reyes (Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day) is the traditional day of gift-giving.
February-March: Carnaval (Mardi Gras) festivities take place the week before Lent, with parades, floats, outdoor dancing, music, and fireworks.
March 13 - April 1: Lasser Sailing Show
March 21 and September 21: At the Equinoxes, KukulcĂĄn, the plumed serpent deity, appears to emerge from his temple atop El Castillo Pyramid at ChichĂ©n ItzĂĄ (west of CancĂșn) and slithers down to earth.
Late April: The Sol a Sol International Regatta launched from St. Petersburg, Florida, arrives in Isla Mujeres, an island offshore from CancĂșn, sparking regional dances and a general air of festivity.
Late April-June: Billfish Tournaments take place in Cozumel, Puerto Aventuras, and CancĂșn.
Early May: Regatta al Sol brings a fleet of sailboats from Pensacola, Florida, to Isla Mujeres.
May 10 - 13: The CancĂșn Jazz Festival, an annual event since 1991, has featured such top musicians as Wynton Marsalis and Gato Barbieri. See info on this year's event.
June 25 - 28: CHIC, The Caribbean Hotel International Congress. (Caribbean Hotel Association)
September 15-16: Independence Day, the commemoration of a historic speech, known as the grito (shout), by Independence leader Padre Miguel Hidalgo, is celebrated throughout Mexico with fireworks and parties.
October 4-6: Mexican Caribbean Travel Mart. Destination showcase for the international travel industry.
October 27- November 4: ITU Triathalon World Cup
November 1-2: On the Day of the Dead, or All Saints' Day, Mexicans all over the country visit cemeteries to construct marigold-strewn altars on the graves of loved ones and ancestors and to symbolically share a meal with them by leaving offerings and having graveside picnics. Bakers herald the annual return of the departed from the spirit world with pastry skulls and candy.
November 10 -11: International Caribbean Cultural Festival
November 29-December 8: Fiesta of Isla Mujeres honors the island's patron saint, as members of various guilds stage processions, dances, and bullfights.
Early December: CancĂșn Fair serves as a nostalgia trip for provincials who now live along the Caribbean shore but still remember the small-town fiestas back home.