Mexicans love a party. Urban families watch the calendar for midweek national holidays that create a puente (bridge) to the weekend and allow them to squeeze in a three- to five-day mini-vacation. Visitors should likewise watch the calendar. Such holidays (especially Christmas and Semana Santa, pre-Easter week) mean packed buses, roads, and hotels, especially around Oaxaca’s beach resorts.
Country people, on the other hand, await their local saint’s day or holy day. The name of the locality often provides the clue. For example, in Santa Cruz Papalutla, just east of Oaxaca City , expect a celebration on May 3, El Día de la Santa Cruz (Day of the Holy Cross). People dress up in their traditional best, sell their wares and produce in a street fair, join a procession, get tipsy, and dance in the plaza.
Oaxaca, unique among Mexican states, has no bullfights. Benito Juárez, as governor during the 1850s, was instrumental in outlawing bullfights in Oaxaca. In his honor, they remain banned.