< December JANUARY
JAN 1: New Year's Day - All Mexico.
Traditional celebrations include live music, dancing, fine food and incredibe fireworks displays. Celebrations in Mexico City and the coastal city of Acapulco are particularly popular with visitors.
JAN 5 - 21: Merida International Art Festival - Merida, Yucatan
In celebration of the city's founding more than 464 years ago, this festival features music, dance, poetry readings, photography exhibitions as well as films and exhibits of local and international artist. www.merida.gob.mx/festival
JAN 6: Three Kings' Day - All Mexico.
The Feast of the Epiphany recalls the arrival in Bethlehem of the three wise men (reyes magos) bearing gifts for baby Jesus. This is the day of traditional gift-giving for children in the central and southern regions of Mexico. Rosca de Reyes, a crown-shaped sweet bread decorated with candied fruits with a small doll baked inside, is served on this day. Whoever is lucky enough to find the figure in his slice of bread must host a party on February 2, Candlemas Day, offering tamales (stuffed cornflour cakes wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves) and atole (a hot, sweet drink thickened with corn flour) to the guests.
JAN 15-23: Saint Sebastian Festival- Chiapas de Corza, Chiapas.
This fiesta is famous for its "Parachicos" tour, which features a dancing procession from San Jacinto church throught Santo Domingo church back and fordward, ending in a delectable food festival featuring traditional dishes such as "Pepita con Tasajo" made of beef in a creamy pumpkin seed sauce. On the night of the 21st, a traditional nautical battle takes place on the Grijalva River which concludes in a spectacle of fireworks.
JAN 17: Feast of San Antonio Abad - All Mexico.
One of the more unusual Catholic events in Mexico, on this day the Catholic Church allows animals to enter local churches to be blessed by the priest. The animals, which often include both pets and livestock, have usually been made respectable for the occasion by being dressed with flowers and ribbons.
JAN 19: Ceremony of the Pocho Dance - Tenosique, Tabasco.
Dating back to prehispanic times, the traditional "Pocho" dance means it's almost Carnaval time in Tabasco. The PochÃ¼ consists of a series of dances and other ancient ceremonies performed by masked dancers, many dressed as jaguars and tigers. The dance symbolizes the purification of man through the battle between good and evil. The Pocho performances begin on January 20 at the main park in Tenosique and on all subsequent Sundays prior to the commencement of Carnival. On the last day, the dancers dance backwards from the main square to the church where the dance began.