Both Jalisco and Michoacán preserve strong native traditions and are particularly rich in fiestas: the list given here is by no means exhaustive, and local tourist offices will have further details.
New Year’s Day (Jan 1). Celebrated in Pátzcuaro and Uruapan with the Danza de los Viejitos (Dance of the Little Old Men).
Día de los Santos Reyes (Jan 6). Twelfth Night is celebrated with many small ceremonies and dances such as Los Sonajeros (rattles), Las Pastoras (the shepherdesses) and El Baile de la Conquista (conquest). Particularly good at Los Reyes (west of Uruapan) and Cajititlán (25km south of Guadalajara).
Día de San Sebastian (Jan 20). Traditional dances in Tuxpan (30km southeast of Ciudad Guzmán).
Día de Nuestro Señor del Rescate (Feb 1). In Tzintzuntzán, the start of a week-long fiesta founded in the sixteenth century by Vasco de Quiroga.
Carnaval (the week before Lent, variable Feb–March). Celebrated everywhere.
Festival Internacional de Guitarra (late March or early April) International Guitar Festival in Morelia.
Palm Sunday (the Sun before Easter Sun). Palm ornament market in Uruapan.
Semana Santa (Holy Week). Observed everywhere, but especially in Tzintzuntzán.
Expo Feria (variable April–May). Arts and industry show in Morelia.
Día de la Santa Cruz (May 3). Native dances in Angangueo; mariachis and tequila in Tequila.
Día del Señor de la Misericordia (last Sun in May). Fiesta and dances in Tuxpan (southeast of Ciudad Guzmán).
Corpus Christi (Thurs after Trinity, variable late May to early June). Traditional dances in Paracho (50km south of Zamora).
Día de San Pedro (June 29). Mariachi and dance festival in Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara.
Día de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo (first Sun in July). Torch-lit religious processions in Quiroga (25km northeast of Pátzcuaro).
Día de María Magdalena (July 22). Fiesta in Uruapan featuring a procession of animals.
Día de Santiago Apóstol (July 25). Lively celebrations and fireworks in Tuxpan (southeast of Ciudad Guzmán) and Uruapan.
Fiesta tradicional (Aug 8). Ancient pre-Columbian fiesta in Paracho (50km south of Zamora).
Feria Nacional del Cobre (second week in Aug). National Copper Fair in Santa Clara del Cobre, near Pátzcuaro.
Morelos’ birthday (Sept 30). Celebrated in Morelia.
Fiestas de Octubre (all month). Massive cultural festival in Guadalajara.
Día de San Francisco (Oct 4). Saint’s day celebrations in Uruapan.
Día de la Raza (Oct 12). Uruapan celebrates Columbus’s “discovery” of the Americas.
Día de la Virgen de Zapopan (Oct 12). Massive pilgrimage in Guadalajara.
Festival de Coros y Danzas (Oct 24–26). Singing and dancing competitions in Uruapan.
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead; Nov 2). Celebrated everywhere, but especially around Pátzcuaro. Also picturesque in Zitácuaro.
Arrival of the monarch butterfly (second week of Nov). Las monarcas start arriving in Michoacán in big numbers around now. Festival Internacional de Música (third week of Nov). International Music Festival in Morelia.
Feria de Aguacate (variable Nov–Dec). Three-week avocado fair in Uruapan.
Día de la Inmaculada Concepción (Dec 8). Celebrated in Sayula (32km north of Ciudad Guzmán on the Tapalpa road).
La Señora de la Salud (Dec 8). Pilgrimage and dances in Pátzcuaro and Tequila.
Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Dec 12). Large celebrations in Tapalpa.
Pastoral plays (Dec 24). Performed in Tuxpan (southeast of Ciudad Gúzman).