New Year’s Day (Jan 1). Celebrated everywhere, but particularly good in Oaxaca and Mitla.
Día de San Sebastián (Jan 20). Big in Tehuantepec.
Día de la Candelaria (Feb 2). Colourful indigenous celebrations in Santa María del Tule.
Carnaval (the week before Lent; variable Feb–March). At its most frenzied in the big cities – especially Oaxaca – but also celebrated in hundreds of villages in the area.
Día de San Isidro (May 15). Peasant celebrations everywhere – famous and picturesque fiestas in Juchitán.
Día de San Juan (June 24). Falls in the midst of festivities (June 22–26) in Tehuantepec.
Fiesta de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo (first Wed in July). Teotitlán del Valle, near Oaxaca, holds a festival with traditional dances and religious processions.
Guelaguetza (last two Mon in July). In Oaxaca, a mixture of traditional dancing and rites on the Cerro del Fortín. Highly popular; tickets for the good seats are sold at the tourist office.
Fiestas (Aug 13–16). Spectacular festivities in Juchitán (Vela de Agosto) and Tehuantepec (Fiesta del Barrio de Santa María Relatoca).
Fiesta de San Bartolomé (Aug 24). In San Bartolo Coyotepec, near Oaxaca.
Blessing of the Animals (Aug 31). In Oaxaca locals bring their beasts to the church of La Merced to be blessed.
Fiesta del Señor de la Natividad (Sept 8). In Teotitlán del Valle.
Independence Day (Sept 16). Celebrated everywhere.
Feria del Árbol (second Mon in Oct). Based around the famous tree in Santa María del Tule.
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead; Nov 2). Observed everywhere, with particularly strong traditions in Xoxocotlán and in Atzompa.
Día de la Inmaculada Concepción (Dec 8). Observed widely. There are traditional dances in Juquilla, not far from Puerto Escondido, and Zacatepec, on the road inland from Pinotepa Nacional.
Fiesta de la Virgen de la Soledad (Dec 18). Celebrations in Oaxaca in honour of the patroness of the state – expect fireworks, processions and music.
Fiesta de los Rabanos (Radish Festival; Dec 23). There’s an exhibition of statues and scenes sculpted from radishes in Oaxaca.
Christmas Eve (Dec 24). In Oaxaca there’s music, fireworks and processions before midnight Mass. Buñuelos – crisp pancakes that you eat before smashing the plate on which they are served – are dished up at street stalls.