Yucatán is definitely the land of fairs, festivals, and fiestas. We can’t help it! It’s in our DNA. It doesn’t matter which month you come to visit, there will most likely be a festival somewhere. Did you know that many of the festivals have religious origins? They are known as the “Patron Saint Festivals. I encourage you to read about them and check out what is going to be happening while you are here—or maybe even plan another visit to make sure you catch them!
Mérida Fest, Mérida
Every January, the city sets out to celebrate the founding of Mérida—January 6, 1542—with a month of festivities. During Mérida Fest you will find many dance performances, visual arts showings, and gallery openings, of which the majority are free. Festivities open with the Alborada, a march between Santa Lucía Park and Plaza Grande. This takes place on January 5 in the evening and ends at midnight with the Mañanitas: the traditional Mexican birthday song.
Fun, food, music, dance, floats, beer, and lots of color await you every year during the Carnaval de Mérida, held at Xmatkuil. This is our Mardi Gras. Beware! The date changes yearly and is based on Easter Sunday. Next year’s dates: February 7 – 14, 2024.
More info: www.merida.gob.mx/carnaval
Traditional Fiesta in Chumayel
Chumayel celebrates its patron saint, the Transfigured Christ, April 28 – May 3. Activities during the festival include traditional Yucatecan dances, Masses, and processions with local bands. This is a festival where it is customary to make a garment for the image of Christ and lay down at its feet.
National Edam Cheese (Queso de Bola) Festival
You will not believe everything that you are going to see made from our beloved Queso de Bola, or Edam Cheese. This festival highlights street food, traditional dishes, and inventions made from this popular ingredient. It has been held at the Motul main square, but also at different locations in Mérida. This is a delicious event with plenty of offerings, so it’s a good idea to keep up with them on Facebook.
Ice Cream Festival in Yucatán
This festival is oh-so-perfectly refreshing for breaking up the tropical heat in the summer. Besides offering ice cream and popsicles you will also find frappés, desserts, typical food, handcrafters, and artisans along with live music. Again, the dates and location may vary; we’ll keep you posted, but you can also follow them on Facebook.
From July 14 to August 4 the town of Halachó is in festival mode, honoring the Apostle Santiago (St. James). Pilgrimages, Masses, dances, music, and the local fair are all festivities you shouldn’t miss.
The San Felipe Village Fair
Honoring Santo Domingo de Guzmán the first two weeks of August, this is a major festival. Pilgrimages, battling bands, popular dances, mechanical rides, food stands, and more make up this fair.
Tunich Craft Fair at Dzityá
The Dzityá artisans get together every summer (late July/early August) and offer the best of their products, which include stone, wood, textiles, and jewelry. Food and fair activities are also offered. Just minutes north of Merida. This year the dates are from July 28 to August 6, 2023.
Guayabera Festival, Tekit
Welcome to the village of Tekit, the Capital of the Guayabera, where you will find the finest garments. The good news? This fair is held twice a year in August and December, and is only a 50-minute drive from Mérida. The 2023 summer edition is from July 22 to August.
Festival de las Ánimas (Day of the Dead Festival), Mérida
October is when we honor our departed loved ones. The festival of the souls, during Janal Pixan, is a time when the local traditions and culture relating to death are lived by all. You will see altars honoring departed loved ones, food (Pibes/mucbilpollo), and the popular March of the Souls, which is full of pomp and circumstance. The dates are the last week of October, ending on November 2.
Xmatkuil State Fair
Mechanical rides, concerts, shows, and LOTS of cattle, horse, and goods exhibitions attract thousands of people during the last three weeks of November to this fair. Street food and fun.
Stands, decorative figures, parade floats decorated with citric fruits, plus cultural events, dances, and contests are all part of this mega agricultural fair. Can you imagine an enormous sculpture of the Pyramid from Chichén Itzá crafted out of oranges? You’ll find it in Oxkutzcab (known as the “orchard of the state”), located 1.5 hours from Mérida, every December. This 2023 it will be from December 7 to the 17th.
Festival of the Immaculate Conception, Izamal
December 8 is when the yellow town of Izamal honors Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The statue of this saint is housed in the San Antonio de Padua Convent. Festivities begin on November 29 and go on for a week plus. Visit Izamal and enjoy the pilgrimages, popular dances, and the serenade to the Virgin on December 7 in the evening. A fair is set up in front of the convent.
Natividad Fiesta in Espita
This religious celebration and fiesta is held from December 19-26 in the village of Espita, in honor of their patron saint, the Baby Jesus. You will find dances, daily processions, concerts, Yucatecan dancing, pilgrimages, and LOTS of joy. Things begin in the church with the lowering of the saint from its niche on December 19. If you can only go for a day, we suggest December 25th.
Three Kings/Epiphany Fair, Tizimín
Held from December 28 – January 7, this festival begins when the Three Kings or Wise Men statues are lowered from their niches in the church. You will find Yucatecan dancing, an Alborada (march from a Ceiba tree to the bullfight ring), concerts, pilgrimages, and popular activities, including lots of food stands and mechanical rides.
For more fiestas, check out
“Yucatán Festivals This Month.”
Editorial by Olivia Camarena Cervera
Yucatecan communicologist. Your favorite Assistant Editor. Writer, blogger, and bookstagrammer in her spare time. She also experiments with TikTok.
Photography by Julián Urquiza, Yucatán Today, Cecilia García Olivieri, Ayuntamiento de Mérida, and Ayuntamiento de Tizimín for use in Yucatán Today.
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