Thanks to Guadalupe for sharing this with us!
My name is Guadalupe, I am Mexican and I am 34 years old and I can tell you a bit of our Traditions and Holidays.
Mexicans are very religious people. About 500 years ago, Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, appeared to Juan Diego, an Indian and told him her name was SANTA MARIA DE GUADALUPE (Saint Mary of Guadalupe) and instructed him to visit the highest Priest and ask him to build a Church for her to be adored. Juan Diego did as he was told but nobody believed him. Then Virgin Mary visited him once more and asked him to go to a nearby hill and to gather some roses and to take them to the Priest and that they would believe him now. He did as he was told. At the top of the hill he found the prettiest roses he had ever seen and considering they were not in season, he was sure he wouldn't have any trouble now. When he took the roses to the Priest he had them gathered in a piece of cloth Indians used as a coat (like a cape but with the knot at the front) and he dropped the flowers and saw the Priest kneel down immediately thus the cloth had the Virgin's image printed on it. Of course the church was built exactly where the Virgin had appeared to Juan Diego. We celebrate this on December the 12th and that is the most important day in Mexico. People visit the church from every state and some even go by foot and take several days to do so.
I would say the most important days in our Calendar are:
- December 12, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
- December 24, Nochebuena. The night Jesus was born, family dress up and get together.
- The next day (not as important but still a Holiday) is December 25, Navidad (Christmas) (It is for us as important as Thanksgiving to Americans)
- September 16th, Our Independence. Everybody celebrates at the City Hall of every town.
- Our Revolution November 20th, Military parade in front of the President
- 5 de Mayo (May 5th)
- La Batalla de Puebla is to my opinion a minor Holiday. We do celebrate it, but not as much as the others.
- January the 5th is called LA NOCHE DE LOS REYES MAGOS (The night of the King Wizards). Family and friends get together in a very casual way and have a ROSCA DE REYES (like a big doughnut in an oval shape) and HOT CHOCOLATE for dinner. Everybody gets a chance to cut their piece of the ROSCA and inside it has a plastic baby (Jesus) and who ever finds the baby is supposed to invite everyone present to eat TAMALES on February 2nd, (Day of the CANDELARIA, 40 days after Jesus is born). Normally you can find 2 to 8 babies inside the bread, and we do it more for the fun of it than really for making another party. What is most important here is the next day, children go to sleep on January 5th and leave a shoe next to the NACIMIENTO, (A Nativity, a small representation of the birth of Christ) Nowadays, we also have adopted the Christmas tree and we decorate them both before Christmas, but the Nativity is very Mexican. As I was saying (writing) Children leave their shoe and receive presents the next day (Just like Americans receive from Santa Claus). Thanks again
I hope you find this information helpful.