Because of its close proximity to the beautiful Caribbean and the vast and fascinating United States, Mexico isn’t often singled out as a tourist destination in and of itself among international travelers. It’s a place any world traveler ought to consider though, because it really has a lot to offer. Distinct culture, excellent food, natural beauty and plenty of history can be found all around the country. And beyond these permanent attractions, there are also several fun occasions to visit Mexico, which is what we’re focusing on here.

1. Carnaval Veracruz

Carnaval celebrations are held all over the world, with the most famous examples being in Rio de Janeiro and Venice. Mexico has a few major events of this kind also though, and the one in Veracruz in particular is not to be overlooked. In Mexico’s case, these all-out festivals full of music, dancing, and creative attire, date back to Spanish religious celebrations. Now, however, they’re essentially giant parties with little to do with religion, and they seem to get bigger and more innovative over time. A few years ago, the Veracruz event even allowed revelers to camp overnight on the beaches, which is ordinarily prohibited. Whether or not that’s on the table though, Carnval Veracruz makes for an awesome excuse to travel to eastern Mexico.

2. Spring Equinox

Chichen Itza is one of the most famous landmarks in Mexico, and is effectively an ancient Mayan city complete with what are commonly referred to as America’s pyramids. The sprawling complex of ruins – which are really quite well preserved – give you a good reason to visit Mexico during any time of the year. However, visiting during the Spring Equinox is a particularly popular idea, in part because it’s become a tradition, but also because the sunlight at particular times plays tricks on the ruins – notably making it appear as if a serpent is moving along the main pyramid. It’s an awe-inspiring spectacle, and almost, in a way, a window into the mystical side of the ancient Mayans.

3. Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday known around the world at this point, and celebrated even in places with no Mexican or broader hispanic heritage. Cinco de Mayo means the 5th of May, which is when this holiday occurs every year as it commemorates a Mexican military victory over French forces in the 1860s (specifically, at the Battle of Puebla). There are some within Mexico that do treat it as a specific patriotic commemoration, but for the most part it’s become a day of general celebration. Again, you can enjoy Cinco de Mayo in places around the world, but naturally, it’s never as good as it is in Mexico.

4. Day Of The Dead

Mexico’s vaguely creepy yet oddly alluring “Day of the Dead” celebration has become almost oddly prominent in popular culture. It’s at least loosely inspired multiple video games, from the cult classic Grim Fandango to the Grim Muerto game featured among some of the free slot games provided by UK platforms. The full Day of the Dead celebration was essentially a set piece in one of the latest James Bond films as well. Through all of this people have been made used to the general aesthetic, which essentially promotes skeletal imagery in a festive manner. The holiday is actually fairly serious, as it’s meant for families to commemorate lost loved ones and help their spiritual journeys. At this point though it’s also a kind of mass celebration of the departed, and frankly it’s a great deal of fun.

5. La Morisma

This is an event that doesn’t get too much attention, despite the fact that it is by now well attended by visitors from across Mexico and the world. It’s essentially a program of large-scale military conflict reenactments that takes place in the community of Zacatecas, Mexico, and those who attend find it absolutely incredible. In full uniforms and sometimes with real weaponry, playing the parts of Christian and Moorish soldiers from various conflicts, those acting out the battles essentially flood the town for a spectacle that’s really unlike anything else in the world. It’s less of a general party than, say, the Day of the Dead or Cinco de Mayo, or certainly Carnaval, but it’s a one-of-a-kind spectacle worth your time.

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