A highlight of village festivals in the area are the massive bullrings, elaborate hand-built structures made entirely of saplings. Expect plenty of fireworks and jaranas, one of the traditional Maya dances. Carnaval, the week before Lent, is colourfully celebrated in Mérida and on Cozumel and Isla Mujeres. For events in smaller villages, ask at the Yucatán state tourism office in Mérida, which maintains a full list, or check the weekly events bulletin at yucatanliving.com, which often mentions nearby fiestas.
Fiesta de los Tres Reyes (Jan 1–6). In the cattle town of Tizimín (Yucatán); expect steak.
Día de la Candelaria (Feb 2). Candlemas: candlelight processions at Tecoh and Kantunil (Yucatán). The week prior is a fiesta in Valladolid (Yucatán).
Equinox (March 21). Huge gathering for the serpent shadow at Chichén Itzá.
Semana Santa (Holy Week, beginning Palm Sunday, variable March–April). Passion plays in Mérida, Acanceh and Maní (Yucatán).
Fiestas de Santa Cruz (end of April). Two-week fair in Cozumel’s El Cedral (Quintana Roo), ending on or near May 3.
Fiesta de la Cruz Parlante (May 12–18). Chancah Veracruz (Quintana Roo), near Felipe Carrillo Puerto, celebrates the Talking Cross of the Caste Wars.
Feria del Jipi (May 20). In Becal (Campeche), celebration of the Panama hat.
Torneo de Pesca (last weekend in May). Fishing tournament and party in Puerto Morelos.
Día de la Chispa (June 4). In Valladolid (Yucatán), re-enactment of the battle that sparked the 1910 Revolution.
Fiesta de San Pedro y San Pablo (June 26–30). On Cozumel and in Panaba (Yucatán).
Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Carmen (July 15–30). Ciudad del Carmen (Campeche) and Motul (Yucatán).
Chac ceremony (dates variable). In Edzná (Yucatán), to encourage the spring rains.
Feria (Aug 10–16). Town celebration in Oxcutzcab (Yucatán).
Feria de San Román (Sept 14–30). Campeche’s city festival.
Gremios (mid-Sept to mid-Oct). Pilgrimages and processions to Mérida’s main church.
Equinox (Sept 21). Another serpent spectacle at Chichén Itzá (see March).
Día de San Miguel (Sept 29). Cozumel’s main town festival.
El Cristo de Sitilpech (Oct 18–28). The miraculous Black Christ is paraded from Sitilpech (Yucatán) to neighbouring Izamal, where there’s ten days of celebration.
Feria del Estado de Yucatán (first three weeks of Nov). At fairgrounds south of Mérida.
Feria de Motul (Nov 4–11). Festival in Motul (Yucatán) with bullfights.
Día de la Inmaculada Concepcíon (Dec 8). Widely celebrated, especially in Izamal, where crowds gather to sing the entire night before.
Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Dec 12). Celebrated everywhere; roads are filled in the days prior with church groups running relays.
Christmas Fiesta (Dec 25–Jan 6). In Temax (Yucatán), featuring the procession of Las Pastorelas, in which images of the Holy Family are carried from house to house.