December 2016 Festivals and Events in Mexico

What's on in December

Close-Up Of Poinsettia
••• Trudy Fletcher / EyeEm / Getty Images

December and January tend to be the coolest months of the year, so no matter your destination, you'll probably want to bring a sweater just in case, and possibly a jacket if you're heading to high altitude spots. December has plenty of festivals and events. The feast day of Mexico's patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, falls on the 12th and Christmas celebrations begin on the 16th with the posadas.

This is high season for many destinations; particularly the last couple of weeks of December can be crowded, so book in advance. Here's a listing of some of the most important festivals and events in Mexico this December:

Guadalajara International Book Fair
Guadalajara, Jalisco, November 26 to December 4
Over 1500 editorial houses from 39 countries gather at the Expo Guadalajara for the largest Spanish-language book festival in the world, now in its 30th year. This year's invited guest is Latin America.
Website: Guadalajara International Book Fair

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival
Playa del Carmen, December 1 to 3
Playa del Carmen will host major national and international jazz musicians who will perform under the stars, at the Mamitas Beach Club. This year's lineup includes Sheila E, Phil Perry, Zappa Plays Zappa, and Gino Vanelli. 
Website: Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Acapulco, Guerrero, December 2 to 4
Music lovers won’t want to miss this three day festival held in the Hotel Pierre Mundo Imperial.

Festival goers and musicians come from all over the world for this beachfront festival. Tropico is about more than just music as art displays, events celebrating fashion, tropical cocktail drenched pool parties and delicious food are also part of the celebration.
Website: Tropico

Mexico City Christmas Festivities
Mexico City, December 3 to January 6
The Mexico City government installs an ice skating rink in the Mexico City Zocalo, that is free for all (expect long line-ups, though!).

 Ice skates are loaned on site, without charge. The rink usually opens the first week of December, and remains open through January 6, when Christmas festivities come to an end with the celebration of King's Day.

Sabor a Cabo Food & Wine Festival
Los Cabos, December 5
Some of the world's finest chefs will gather for the annual Sabor a Cabo food and wine festival in Los Cabos. The main event will be held in the Puerto Los Cabos sculpture garden and is expected to draw over 2000 attendees. Cabo's best local chefs will prepare their signature dishes for this important culinary event.
Website: Sabor a Cabo

Fiesta of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Throughout Mexico, but particularly in Mexico City, December 12
The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe commemorates the traditional account of her first appearances on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City in 1531. The main celebrations take place in Mexico City, where thousands of pilgrims converge on the Basilica de Guadalupe to pay tribute to Mexico's patron saint. The square in front of the Basilica is a stage for singing, dancing and celebration.

Feria de la Posada y Piñata - Posada and Piñata Fair
Acolman de Nezahualcoyotl, Estado de Mexico, December 16 to 20
An annual celebration near Mexico City, in which the Christmas traditions of piñatas and posadas are celebrated.

Workshops in piñata-making are offered. Learn about the history and meaning of the piñata.

December 16 to 24
Every night from the 16th to the 24th of December, there are street processions that culminate in house parties known as posadas, in which Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem is remembered.
Read more: Posadas

Noche de los Rábanos - Radish Night
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, December 23rd
The Oaxaca Zocalo is filled with stalls during this popular event in which local craftspeople carve and assemble radishes into all different types of figures, from flowers and animals to saints and nativity scenes.

Navidad - Christmas
December 25
The last posada takes place on Christmas Eve, "Nochebuena," and families have a late-night supper. In cities there are calendas, festive processions and other events.
Read more: Mexican Christmas Traditions

Año Nuevo - New Year's Eve
December 31
Celebrations vary from raucous to sedate. Find out about Mexican New Year's Eve traditions.

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