Calendar of Events
The Cozumel Carnaval is the island's time-honored pre-Lenten festival, held since 1908. In Cozumel, grandparents, adults, teenagers and children alike come together to participate in the harmonically colorful and musical explosion. Within the Mexican-Caribbean, Cozumel is considered to have one of the most popular and authentic Carnaval celebrations, emphasizing a more traditional and family-oriented event. Together locals and visitors enjoy 5 days of fun that includes parades, floats, traditional regional foods, music and dancing. The highlight of the festivities is the Comparsas Ball that features an incredible dance competition.
RODEO DE LANCHAS MEXICANAS (MEXICAN BOAT RODEO)
The annual sport fishing tournament brings together competitors from Mexico and around the world to fish for blue marlin, white marlin, wahoo, dorado, tuna, barracuda and other game fish. More than a 100 boats participate in the event each year. Open to the general public, entrants simply need to register their boats in Mexico.
SAN PEDRO Y SAN PABLO FESTIVAL
A religious festival honoring Saint Peter and Saint Paul, complete with a fair, rides, food and craft shows.
DÍA DE LA INDEPENDENCIA (INDEPENDENCE DAY)
A nationwide festival celebrating Mexican Independence Day. On September 15 local residents and visitors congregate around the City Hall to participate in the traditional “grito”, or cry for independence. Lead by the Mayor of Cozumel from the balcony at City Hall at 11:00 p.m., the cry “Viva Mexico” is made. Following the “grito” is an impressive fireworks display and other festivities including traditional foods as well as musical and folkloric dance performances. On September 16, Independence Day, the celebrations continue with a parade that goes through Cozumel's downtown waterfront. Throughout the week, residents and visitors are invited to visit a fair near the City Hall that includes food stands, games, dancing and shopping.
FIESTAS DE SAN MIGUEL ARCANGEL
One of Cozumel's most important religious festivals honoring San Miguel Arcángel, Saint Michael, Patron Saint of the island. The celebration begins on September 21, featuring colorful processions that start from the church of San Miguel and go throughout downtown, along with lively food and craft fairs. During this time, local residents attend mass and take part in daily processions wearing traditional Mayan outfits called “hipiles.”
Cozumel has honored San Miguel Arcángel as its Patron Saint since 1848 when Father Rejón, a priest from Chemax, Yucatan, arrived to Cozumel with new inhabitants and an image of Saint Michael. Prior to that, in 1526, Francisco de Montejo, a representative of the King of Spain, was authorized to conquer and develop the island of Cozumel and gave the island the Christian name of San Miguel de Cozumel.
DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS (DAY OF THE DEAD)
The history of the Day of the Dead dates back over 3,000 years ago. Life was seen as a dream and it was believed that only in dying was a human being truly awake and the soul set free. For the Day of the Dead, special altars are made with flowers, candles and food and are displayed in hotels, restaurants and other public places. The bakeries on island are filled with sweets shaped in the symbols of skulls, and flowers and memorials fill the cemetery. Particularly popular are marigolds, a sacred orange flower that represents death.
November 1, Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) is known as the day when the spirits of children are expected to return and Mexicans pay homage to the souls of the children who have passed on. Tradition states that the departed descend from the heavens on this day, so family members prepare for their arrival by leaving sugar skeletons, skulls and treats on altars specially made for the occasion. On November 2, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a celebration for all the adults that have passed away takes place. Families leave the favorite food and drink of the deceased on a special altar constructed in their home or on the tomb of the departed ancestor.
DIA DE LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE
Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most popular celebrations in Mexico and Cozumel. Cozumeleños are very devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe and every year an island-wide celebration takes place, Cozumelenian style.
The celebration begins the first day of December with a pilgrimage lead through the island, by a variety of religious and non-religious organizations, to the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
On December 9, groups embark on another pilgrimage to the parish and celebrate a Thanksgiving mass. The festivities continue with a race around the island on December 11, with adults, youths and children joyfully participating. The race begins at the Guadalupe Parish, crossing through the island to return to the Parish in time for a festival full of regional foods, folkloric dances and musical performances. The celebration includes the traditional mariachi bands singing to the Virgin, Patroness of Mexico and Empress of America, throughout the day.
On December 12 several masses are held in the Parish along with celebrations of regional foods, dance and music until the performances of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the Tepeyac cliff take place.