A calendar of less-familiar festivities

The BPM Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017.
The BPM Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017. Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage for TheBPMFestival.com
Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

Mexico's calendar is packed year-round with bright, vibrant festivals, some steeped in tradition and others that showcase Mexico's modern edge.

Many you probably know, from Dia de los Muertos, to Mexican Independence Day to Cinco de Mayo. But the energy, entertainment and culture don't end there. Here are six other festivals to keep on the calendar going into 2017.

BPM Festival: Jan. 6 to 15

Each January Playa del Carmen kicks off the new year with one of the biggest techno dance parties in the world. Thousands make the trip each year to combine their sun-and-sand with an epic dance party that goes from mid-afternoon into the wee hours.

Hotels to consider: Lat20 by Live Aqua, Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen, Thompson Playa del Carmen

Dia de la Candelaria: Feb. 2

Dia de la Candelaria is celebrated throughout Mexico, but the one to know is the celebration in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, which is complete with bullfights and parades. The date marks the halfway point between the winter and spring solstices, and the festival's high point is an image of the Virgin being floated down the river, complete with thousands of candles and brilliantly colored flowers.

Hotels to consider: Tlacotalpan is a very small town in the state of Veracruz, so hotel options are limited. But Tlacotalpan is 55 miles from the Port of Veracruz, which is teeming with hotel options.

Other activities to consider while making the most of your time in Tlacotalpan are a visit to Zaragoza Square, Hidalgo Park, the Church of San Cristobal and the Church of the Candelaria.

Carnival: Feb. 23 to 28

Brazil and the Caribbean might have the most well-known Carnival celebrations, but Mexico has its fair share of fun, as well, particularly in Mazatlan.

The first recorded Carnival in town was in 1848.
The first recorded Carnival in town was in 1848. Photo Credit: Flickr/Jorge Medrano

Mazatlan's Carnival is one of the biggest celebrations in all of Mexico as thousands of partiers take to the streets in elaborate costumes. The seven-day event is brimming with parades, floats and costume balls, most of which carry on until 4 in the morning.

Hotels to consider: Casa Lucila, The Melville, Hotel Playa Mazatlan 

Guelaguetza: July

An indigenous celebration, Guelaguetza takes place in Oaxaca and nearby communities, where the population is more than 50% indigenous, so ancient traditions hold strong.

The celebration focuses on traditional dances, costumes, parades, food and crafts. Each costume and dance is tied to a historic and cultural meaning. The event draws thousands of tourists every year but still remains extremely important to the local community.

Hotels to consider: Hotel Palacio Borghese, Hotel La Casona De Tita, Casa Oaxaca

Festival Cervantino: October

Guadalajara explodes every October with this lively cultural festival, one of the premier arts and cultural festivals in Mexico and Latin America.

Its origins go back to the mid-20th century, when short plays by "Don Quixote" author Miguel de Cervantes were performed in the city's plaza. Today the festival spans many genres, from opera and contemporary dance to visual arts, film, and literature. Each of Guadalajara's three major theaters hosts an events program during the festival.

Hotels to consider: Casa Fayette, Fiesta Americana Guadalajara, Villa Ganz 

Fiesta de Santa Cecilia: Nov. 22

Music is important year-round in Mexico, but it's not as important as it is on Nov. 22, when the patron saint of musicians is honored at Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City. This annual open-air party is replete with mariachi music, as well as music from the north of Mexico and the Gulf state of Veracruz.

Hotels to consider: Downtown Mexico, Las Alcobas, St. Regis Mexico City


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