May in Mexico: Fiestas galore

articles Culture & Arts

Carol Wheeler

In Mexico, May seems much shorter than it does north of the border. There are so many holidays that the country seems to call a halt to the normal workweek and honor almost everyone.

It actually begins on April 30 with the Dia del Niño, when children are honored with gifts and treats, and classes are canceled for a day of fun. Labor Day — May 1 — follows immediately with parades in every city and town. May 3 is the feast day of the Holy Cross, and construction workers celebrate it as their special day with crosses erected atop buildings under construction. Employers provide a luncheon onsite, sometimes with mariachis, always with music.

The Battle of Puebla is commemorated on the 5th — el Cinco de Mayo, perhaps a bigger event in the U.S. and Canada now that it is no longer on the list of “official” Mexican holidays, with schools, shops and offices remaining open. But it affords a great opportunity to savor that city’s hallmark recipe — mole poblano.

May 10 is always Mother’s Day, no matter on what day of the week it falls. Again, classes are dismissed so the whole family can spend the day with mothers and grandmothers and even godmothers.

Teacher’s Day — el Dia del Maestro — falls on the 15th, and students have their turn on May 23rd, el Dia del Estudiante. Usually both get the day off to celebrate with family, friends and peers.

And of course, every day of every year is the feast day of a number of saints, which calls for a party for their namesakes.

MexConnect joins the spirit of fun in this fiesta-filled month. Karen Hursh Graber shares her favorite recipes for Mother’s Day and tells the story of Puebla’s delicious mole. Judy King relates the legend of Saint Elena and how she brought construction workers and the Holy Cross together in the 3rd century.


Published or Updated on: May 1, 2005 by Carol Wheeler © 2005
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