This week, people all over the world are starting their Carnival celebrations (known as Mardi Gras in the USA). The celebrations always start a week before Ash Wednesday, a history that ties back to Biblical times and Lent.
Carnival celebrations in Mexico take place in at least 200 cities and towns. Some celebrate with a large and spectacular presence, comparable to Carnaval in Brazil, and some celebrate in small, uniquely traditional ways. Here are our top five picks for where to celebrate carnival in Mexico:
Mazatlan’s International Carnaval is a non-stop affair with thousands of costumed partiers, parades, floats, fireworks, concerts and confetti. It is the biggest celebration of its kind in Mexico, with traditions dating 100 years old and attracting hundreds of thousands of people!
This Mexican coastal city has become host to one of the most important carnivals in Mexico as a result of its folklore and unique elements in its jubilee. Music plays a very important role in Veracruz’s celebrations and a variety of different styles can be heard whether it’s danzon in the main plaza, marimba during one of their many parades or ballads during their ‘burning of the bad mood’ ritual.
This state knows how to party for Carnival! Several towns in Morelos, such as Tepoztlan, Tlayacapan, Yautepec, and Jiutepec add several religious traditionsto accomopnay their colorful festivities. One tradition that is prominent to this region is the Dance of the Chinelos, a costumed dance where the characters are playful, tricky, and jump in the movement of puppets.
Campeche is one of Mexico’s oldest carnivals. They celebrate with both unique and traditional customs, some which accompany certain days of the week. On “Wet Monday” children throw water balloons; “Painters Tuesday”, neighbors gather to paint each other; and “Fat Tuesday” the carnival ends with the traditional burning of the doll that represents Juan Carnaval.
Merida comes alive with color during its carnival celebrations more than usual. Themed parades of local folklore and costumes happen frequently over their eight day festival, continuing into all-night long dancing parties of salsa, cumbia and mambo. A peculiar tradition to Merida is the Battle of the Flowers, where people throw flowers at each other.