The following calendar lists national and notable Oaxacan holidays and festivals. For many more details, see the destinations cited. Call ahead to confirm dates. If you happen to be where one of these is going on, get out of your car or bus and join in!
January 1: ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! (New Year’s Day; national holiday), especially in Santiago Jamiltepec and Teotitlán del Valle .
January 6: Día de los Reyes (Day of the Kings), especially in Santos Reyes Nopala —traditional gift exchange; townsfolk perform favorite traditional dances.
January 13–17: Fiesta del Dulce Nombre de Jesús (Festival of the Sweet Name of Jesus), in Santa Ana del Valle , Tlacolula , and Zimatlán —troupes perform many traditional dances, including the Dance of the Feathers.
January 17: Día de San Antonio Abad—decorating and blessing animals.
January 20–21: Fiesta de San Sebastián, especially in San Pedro and San Pablo Tequixtepec, Pinotepa Don Luis , and Jalapa de Díaz.
January 25: Fiesta del Apóstol de San Pablo (Festival of Apostle St. Paul), in Mitla —masses, processions, feast, fireworks, jaripeo (bull roping and riding), and dancing.
February 2: Día de Candelaria, especially in Tututepec —plants, seeds, and candles blessed; procession and bullfights.
February 5: Constitution Day (national holiday)—commemorates the constitutions of 1857 and 1917.
February 24: Flag Day (national holiday).
February: During the four days before Ash Wednesday (46 days before Easter Sunday), usually in late February, many towns, especially San Juan Colorado , Putla, Pinotepa Don Luis , and Juxtlahuaca, celebrate Carnaval—Mardi Gras–style extravaganzas.
February–March: Celebrations continue during Cuaresma (Lent), especially in Santiago Jamiltepec and Pinotepa Nacional , for several weeks.
Second Friday of Lent (nine days after Ash Wednesday): Fiesta del Señor del Perdón (Festival of the Lord of Forgiveness), in San Pedro and San Pablo Tequixtepec—big pilgrimage festival.
Second Friday of Lent: Fiesta del Señor de Piedad, in Santiago Astata .
Fourth Friday of Lent (23 days after Ash Wednesday): Fiesta del Señor de Misericordias, in Santa María de Huatulco .
Fourth Friday before Easter Sunday: Fiesta of Jesus the Nazarene, in Huaxpaltepec.
Week before Palm Sunday: Week of Ramos, especially in Jamiltepec .
Friday before Good Friday (11 days before Easter Sunday): Feria Comercial (Commercial Fair), in Huautla de Jiménez—many traditional folk dances.
March 18–19: Fiesta de San José, in Valle Nacional; on the weekend closest to March 10 in San José El Mogote .
March 21: Birthday of Benito Juárez, the “Hero of the Americas” (national holiday), especially in Benito Juárez’s birthplace, Guelatao—a whirl of traditional dances.
March 21–31: Juegos Florales (Flower Games), in Oaxaca City .
April: Semana Santa (pre-Easter Holy Week, culminating in Domingo Santa—Easter—national holiday), in many locales, especially San Juan Colorado , Pinotepa Don Luis , and Pinotepa Nacional .
Good Friday, two days before Easter Sunday: Fiesta de la Santa Cruz de Huatulco (Festival of the Holy Cross of Huatulco).
Saturday before Easter Sunday: Sábado de Gloria in San Miguel Tequixtepec—people, called mecos, don masks and do a kind of adult trick or treat for the occasion.
First week in April: Feria del Mango (Mango Fair), in Tapanatepec.
April 26–29: Fiesta de San Pedro Mártir de Verona, in San Pedro Yucunama.
May 1: Labor Day (national holiday).
May 3: Fiesta de la Santa Cruz (Festival of the Holy Cross), in many places, especially Salina Cruz, Tehuántepec, and Unión Hidalgo.
May 5: Cinco de Mayo (national holiday)—celebration of the defeat of the French at Puebla in 1862.
May 10: Mothers’ Day (national holiday).
May 10–12: Fiesta of the Coronation of the Virgin of the Rosary.
May 11–16: Fiesta de San Isidro Labrador (Festival of Saint Isador the Farmer), in Ixcatlán.
May 15–30: Velas de San Vicente Ferrer, in Juchitán.
Late May–early June: Feria Tuxtepec, in Tuxtepec—big expo and folkloric dance festival.
June 2–3: Fiesta de San Antonio de Padua, in Jalapa de Díaz.
June 23–24: Fiesta de San Juan Bautista (Festival of St. John the Baptist), especially in Tuxtepec, Valle Nacional, Cuicatlán, and Coixtlahuaca.
June 25: Fiesta de San Pedro, in Santa María Huamelula; June 27–30 in San Pedro Tapanatepec; June 29 in San Pedro Amusgos ; June 26–30 in Unión Hidalgo.
June 26–30: Fiesta de Santa María Santísima in Unión Hidalgo.
June 26–30: San Isidro el Labrador (Saint Isador the Farmer) in Unión Hidalgo.
June 29: Fiesta de San Pablo y San Pedro (Festival of St. Paul and St. Peter); June 21–28 in San Pedro Pochutla .
July 1–15: Fiesta of the Precious Blood of Christ, in Teotitlán del Valle —featuring the Danza de la Pluma (Dance of the Feather).
Usually on the two Mondays following July 16: Lunes de Cerro or Guelaguetza in Oaxaca City —all-Oaxaca dance extravaganza.
July 20–24: Fiesta de Santa María Magdalena (Festival of St. Mary Magdalene), in Tequisistlán.
July 20–30: Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol (Festival of St. James the Apostle), in Santiago Laollaga; July 22–27 in Suchilquitongo ; July 23–26 in Jamiltepec and in Pinotepa Nacional ; and July 25 in Juxtlahuaca.
August 1–5: Fiesta de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, in Unión Hidalgo.
August 13–18: Fiesta del Barrio de Santa María Relatoca, in Tehuántepec.
August 14: Fiesta de la Virgen de la Asunción (Festival of the Virgin of the Assumption), in Tlaxiaco; August 15 in Nochixtlán; August 13–16 in Huazolotitlán .
August 25–29: Fiesta de San Bartolomé, in San Bartolomé de Quiliana; August 23–24 in San Bartolo Tuxtepec; August 24–27 in San Bartolo Coyotepec .
August 26–September 2: Fiesta de Santa Rosa de Lima, in Salina Cruz; August 28 in Ojitlán.
August 31–September 11: Fiesta Laborio, in Tehuántepec.
September 7–8: Fiesta de la Vírgen de La Navidad, in Huautla de Jiménez.
September 7–9: Fiesta del Señor de La Natividad (Festival of the Lord of the Nativity), in Teotitlán del Valle .
September 11: Fiesta de la Virgen de los Remedios, in Jamiltepec .
September 14: Charro Day (Cowboy Day), all over Mexico—rodeos.
September 16: Independence Day (national holiday)—mayors everywhere reenact Father Hidalgo’s 1810 Grito de Dolores from city hall balconies on the night of September 15.
September 21: Fiesta of San Mateo, in Calpulalpan.
September 23–30: Fiesta de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo (Festival of the Precious Blood of Christ), in Tlacochahuaya —eight days of processions, dances, fireworks, and food.
September 27–29: Fiesta de San Miguel, in San Miguel Tequixtepec and Teotitlán del Camino—highlights include traditional dances, such as the Cristianos y Moros (Christians and Moors).
October 1–2: Fiesta de San Miguel Arcangel, in Puerto Ángel .
First Sunday in October: Fiesta de la Virgen del Rosario (Festival of the Virgin of the Rosary), in San Pedro Amusgos .
October 3–5: Fiesta de San Francisco Asis, in Salina Cruz.
October 6–8: Fiesta de San Dionisio, in San Dionisio del Mar—pilgrimage.
Second Sunday in October: Fiesta del Santo Cristo de Tlacolula (Festival of the Holy Christ of Tlacolula), in Tlacolula .
Second Monday in October: Fiesta de los Lunes del Tule, in Santa María del Tule —locals in costume celebrate with rites, folk dances, and feats of horsemanship beneath the boughs of their beloved great cypress tree.
Third Sunday in October: Fiesta de Octubre, in Tlaxiaco—includes fireworks, basketball and pelota mixteca (traditional ball game) tournaments, and popular dances.
October 12: Día de la Raza (Columbus Day)—national holiday that commemorates the union of the races.
November: Fiestas de Noviembre, in Puerto Escondido —features the big folk dance festival Fiesta Costéño.
November 1: Día de Todos Santos (All Saints Day)—in honor of the souls of children; the departed descend from heaven to eat sugar skeletons, skulls, and treats on family altars.
November 2: Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), especially in Tuxtepec and Cacahuatepec —in honor of ancestors; families visit cemeteries and decorate graves with flowers and favorite foods of the deceased.
November 11–16: Fiesta de San Diego, in Salina Cruz.
November 13: Fiesta de San Marcos, in San Marcos Tlapazola (tourist Yu’u town in the Valley of Oaxaca ).
November 20: Revolution Day (national holiday)—anniversary of the revolution of 1910–1917.
November 22: Fiesta de Santa Cecilia, in Unión Hidalgo.
November 25: Fiesta de Santa Catarina, in Santa Catarina Ixtepeji.
November 29: Fiesta de San Andrés, in San Juan Colorado .
December 1: Inauguration Day—national government changes hands every six years: 2006, 2012, 2018 . . .
December 8: Día de la Purísima Concepción (Day of the Immaculate Conception).
December 8: Fiesta de la Vírgen de la Soledad, in Juxtlahuaca.
Late November–December 8: Fiesta de la Virgen de Juquila , in Santa Catarina Juquila —Oaxaca’s biggest fiesta.
December 8–11: Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, in Santa María de Huatulco .
December 12: Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe), nationwide—processions, music, and dancing honoring the patroness of Mexico.
December 16–18: Fiesta de la Virgen de la Soledad, in Oaxaca City .
December 16–24: Christmas Week—week of posadas and piñatas, with midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
December 19–22: Fiesta de Santo Tomás Apóstol, in Ixtlán de Juárez.
December 23: Fiesta de los Rábanos (Festival of the Radishes), in Oaxaca City .
December 24: Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), in Oaxaca City and Yucunama.
December 25: ¡Feliz Navidad! (Christmas Day; national holiday)—Christmas trees and gift exchange.
December 26: Vela Tehuántepec, in Tehuántepec—everyone in town dances to the lovely melody of the Sandunga.
December 31: New Year’s Eve.