Las Fiestas Hispánicas
1. Carnaval
The celebration we call “Mardi gras” is called “Carnaval” in Spanish. Carnaval is celebrated in the first week of
March. One of the most popular Carnaval celebrations is in Miami and takes place on “Calle ocho” (8th Street.)
There is dancing, music and good food! Mardi gras and Carnaval both mark the start of the season of Lent.
2. Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
El Día de Los Muertos is very different from Halloween. It is celebrated in Mexico on the first and second of
November. One interesting thing about this holiday is that Mexicans will visit their dead friends and relatives,
clean up their grave sites in the “cementerios”, and have fiestas there. To honor their dead, they also build
“altares” – tables in their homes that have all the person’s favorite foods.
3. Navidad (Christmas)
Hispanic Christmas celebrations are very different in different countries. In many Hispanic countries,
Nochebuena or Christmas eve is when the big meal is. Many Hispanics will celebrate the nine days before
Christmas with Posadas. Posadas are when carolers go from house to house, except it is common to invite the
people whose houses you visit to follow along with you. At the end of the night, everyone goes back to the
host’s house for a party. The Posadas are meant to symbolize when María y José went from house to house
looking for a place to give birth to the bebé Jesús.
4. Día de Los Reyes Magos
In many Hispanic countries, January 6th or “Día de los Reyes Magos” is celebrated more than Christmas is.
During this holiday, kids put out shoes by their door and wait for them to be filled with presents from the
Reyes Magos (wise men who visited the bebé Jesús).
5. Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that is celebrated on May 5th - ¡Es obvio! It is a celebration of when the Mexican
army defeated the French army in La batalla de Puebla. Many people think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican
Independence Day, but it is not. El día de Independencia de México (Mexican Independence day) is actually
September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is actually celebrated more by Hispanics in the U.S. than it is back in Mexico.
6. El Día de la Raza (The day of the race)
El Día de la Raza is celebrated on October 12th, which is an important date. October 12th, 1492 is when
Cristóbal Colón discovered América. Hispanics celebrate this date because, for them, October 12th marks a
day when their world was dramatically changed forever. When the Europeans colonized North and South
America, many people such as the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas lost their way of life and became part of modern
life and European culture. This holiday is meant for celebrating their native heritage with dancing, food, and
games from the cultures that existed in the Americas before the arrival of Cristóbal Colón.
After reading a little about some popular holidays in Spanish Speaking countries, match the holiday to the date it is
celebrated on. Use page 9 in your notes if you need help with dates.
El Día de los Muertos
El Día de la Raza
Día de Independencia
De México
El veinte y cinco de diciembre
El doce de octubre
El diez y seis de septiembre
La primera semana en marzo
El seis de enero
El Cinco de Mayo
El veinte y cuatro de diciembre
Día de los Reyes Magos
Cinco de Mayo
El primero de noviembre y el dos de