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Also known as the ‘festival of meat’, this is the party where almost everything goes. The festival that kicks off Lent. Carnival is here! This is an event that people really love to celebrate and which goes on all over the world. Every country has its Carnival celebrations with their own customs and traditions, but they all share a few things in common: lots of fun, fancy costumes, masks, music and entertainment.

Which are the best Carnivals in Mexico?

In some Mexican states, Carnival revives some of the ceremonies associated with ancestor worship. Local rituals and traditional dances combine with other features to celebrate Carnival year after year.

The most impressive Carnivals in Mexico are held in:

  • Mazatlan: Events such as the coronation of the King of Happiness, the Ambassadors’ Ball and the coronation of the Queen of Floral Games.
  • Morelos: A Carnival that features the traditional dances of the “chinelos”. The town divides up into different troupes, each representing a particular neighborhood in the state.
  • Yucatan: The whole week is a big party with competitions between troupes, fireworks, games and typical regional Mayan dances.
  • Veracruz: Both children and adults are chosen to be crowned. “Bad Moods” are burned and the events are all witnessed by crowds of tourists.

Usually the main streets are all closed off and lined with grandstands so that the public can enjoy the show. The center of the road is kept clear for the float parade, the presentation of the Carnival King and Queen, and parades by the troupes. Dozens of food and drink stalls are set up to satisfy the appetites of visitors as they enjoy all the live music by local bands or Mexican stars.

One thing is for sure, and that is that this unique celebration will go on for 5 whole days. Visitors can enjoy a large number of dances and parades with dancers in provocative and colorful costumes, carriages carrying the Carnival King and Queen, all parading to the beat of the music. A party where the fun never stops!

What are the Carnival traditions in Mexico?

The tradition is to choose a theme for the Carnival which then influences the way the streets are decorated and the costumes to be worn by the King and Queen. Voting for the Carnival King and Queen takes place weeks before the festival, and a jury rates all the candidates before choosing the ones that best suit the image of the Carnival for the year.

Dance and costume contests are also typical during Carnivals in Mexico, with the winners getting symbolic awards from the festival organization. The contests are a load of fun and are some of the events that are most appreciated by spectators.

What are the costumes like for Carnivals in Mexico?

Depending on the type of carnival and the state where it is held, different costumes are used by dancers and participants. The theme selected for the Carnival is also a key influence on the costumes designed for the Kings and Queens. Whatever the influences, you can always be sure that exuberance, color and brightness will shine through in all the Carnivals in Mexico.

At the ‘festival of meat’ you must not miss the bikinis decorated with rhinestones and sequins, bold and striking costumes that are worthy of a celebration like the Carnival. Generally, the female dancers in the troupes wear large and very colourful feathers. As for shoes, women tend to wear shiny high heels over 10cm high which match their outfit.

For men, the costume is not such a big problem. Going bare-chested with a pair of colorful pants is enough to take part. But then there are also the typical suits with baggy shirts, pants and very bright shoes associated with salsa or merengue music.

Accessories such as bracelets, necklaces, belts and earrings are also a fundamental part of the costumes, further adorning the traditional grandeur, dedication, color and brightness of Carnival costumes in Mexico.

Colors, a mark of identity

Colors are essential in any celebration. Yellow, red, purple and blue are the most popular colors at Carnival, especially for the costumes. A great party really needs a lot of color to make sure everyone really appreciates all the fun and festive atmosphere of Carnival.

Cozumel, Carnival in Riviera Maya

Although there are many Carnivals in Mexico, the Cozumel Carnival is definitely one of the most typical and most popular in the Riviera Maya. Incredibly, the Cozumel Carnival has been held every year for more than 140 years and it continues to be celebrated to this day! Its antiquity and promotion of the culture and identity of the people of Quintana Roo make it an event which is now considered a State Heritage.

Characteristics of Cozumel Carnival

Four Saturdays before Carnival week (known as Pre-Carnival), voting takes place for the Kings and Queens in different categories: Carnival King and Queen and the Kings and Queens of joy, fantasy, kids, youngsters and diversity.

The coronation of the Kings and Queens marks the beginning of the Caribbean Carnival, and the party continues with the first dances by the troupes, joined by all the spectators in a mass display of Caribbean choreography. The enthusiasm continues and there are many colorful costumes and masks on show on Fantasy Saturday, during which the second dance takes place and the first parade begins. Sunday is more traditional and prepares for the second parade. The last day of Carnival is the biggest of all, with about 80,000 people getting together for the final parade.

Carnival traditions in Cozumel

For an entire week, the streets of Cozumel are full of hustle and bustle and a load of different activities and presentations such as the traditional Guaraducha of Cozumel, a satire on the way that the masters of old treated their black slaves. Everybody also has great fun listening to the live music by groups who take advantage of Carnival to make themselves better known. Young people are a key part of the event, as they join in the Fantasy Troupes and make fantastic presentations every day.

Continuing with the Carnival traditions, later there is the “night of the masks” with prizes for the best costumes, a very traditional part of the Carnival, full of mystery and emotion.

Any of the Carnivals are a great excuse to dance and have a ball. This is a party where almost everything goes that you really shouldn’t miss.

Enjoy Carnivals in Mexico staying at our Princess Hotels & Resorts en Riviera Maya!

We would love you to share your experience of Carnivals in Mexico with us! Leave us a comment, we would like to know your story.

This entry is also available in: Spanish

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