Holidays in Spanish Speaking Countries

Instructor: Angelica Roy

Angelica is an educator and a journalist. She has a master's degree in education, a bachelor's degree in linguistics and languages, and a second major in journalism.

Spanish speaking countries have holiday celebrations just like every other country. When we share some of the same holidays, you might be surprised to see how different these holidays are celebrated. In this lesson, we'll look at some of the most important holidays to these peoples.

Holidays in Spanish Speaking Countries

Spanish speaking countries enjoy celebrating their holidays. Many of those celebrations are the international ones, like Christmas and New Year's. However, there are some other religious and non-religious holidays that are very important for the Spanish speaking communities. In this lesson, we will identify some of the most important ones. We have divided the holidays and special celebrations in Latin America and Spain by:

  • Christian Catholic Celebrations (C)
  • National Celebrations (NC)
  • International Days (IC)

When What Where
January 1 de enero Año Nuevo
(New Year's)
(IC)
6 de enero Día de Reyes
(Epiphany)
(C)
February 14 de febrero Día de San Valentín
Día de los Enamorados
(St. Valentine's Day)
(IC)
Not in Colombia
24 - 28 de febrero Carnavales
(Carnivals)
(NC)
Latin America and Spain
March 1 de marzo Miércoles de ceniza
(Ash Wednesday)
(C)
8 de marzo Día internacional de la mujer
(Women's Day)
(IC)
19 de marzo Día de San José
(St. Joseph's Day)
(C)
21 de marzo El natalicio de Benito Juárez
(Benito Juárez Birthdate)
(NC)
Mexico
24 de marzo Día de la memoria por la verdad y la justicia en Argentina
(Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice in Argentina)
(NC)
Argentina
April 9 de abril Domingo de ramos
(Palm Sunday)
(C)
13 de abril Jueves Santo
(Holy Thursday)
(C)
14 de abril Viernes Santo
(Good Friday)
(C)
May 1 de mayo Día del trabajo
(Labor's Day)
(NC)
Colombia
5 de mayo 5 de mayo (NC) Mexico
7 de mayo
10 de mayo
14 de mayo
27 de mayo
Día de la madre
(Mother's Day)
(IC)
Spain
Mexico
Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela
Bolivia
26 de mayo Día nacional del libro
(National Book Day)
(NC)
Uruguay
June 15 de junio Corpus Christi (C)
18 de junio
19 de junio
Día del padre
(Father's Day)
(IC)
Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela
Chile
21 de junio Año Nuevo Aymara
(Aymara New Year's)
(NC) Bolivia
July 3 de julio San Pedro y San Pablo
(St. Peter and St.Paul's Day)
(C) Colombia
5 de julio
9 de julio
20 de julio
28 de julio
Día de la Independencia
(Independence Day)
(NC)
Venezuela
Argentina
Colombia
Peru
August 6 de agosto Día de la patria
(Independence Day)
(NC)
Bolivia
7 de agosto Batalla de Boyacá
(Boyaca's Battle)
(NC)
Colombia
15 de agosto Asunción de la Virgen María
(Assumption of the Virgin Mary)
(C)
17 de agosto Aniversario del General José de San Martín
(General José de San Martín Death Anniversary)
(NC)
Argentina
19 de agosto Santa Rosa de Lima
(St. Rose of Lima)
(NC)
Peru
September 8 de septiembre Día de Asturias
(Asturias Day)
(NC)
Spain
18 de septiembre Día de la independencia
(Independence Day)
(NC)
Chile
27 de septiembre Día de México
(Mexico's Day)
(NC)
Mexico
October 15 de octubre Día de la madre
(Mother's Day)
(NC)
Argentina
16 de octubre Día de la Raza
(Discovery of America)
(NC)
Colombia
31 de octubre Halloween (IC)
November 1 de noviembre Día de todos los Santos
(All Saints Day)
(C)
2 de noviembre Día de los Muertos
(Day of the Death)
(NC)
Mexico
13 de noviembre Día de la independencia de Cartagena
(Independence Day)
(NC)
Cartagena, Colombia
20 de noviembre Revolución Mexicana
(Mexican Revolution)
(NC)
Mexico
December 6 de diciembre Día de la Constitución
(Constitution Day)
(NC)
Spain
7 de diciembre Día de las velitas
(Candles Day)
(NC)
Colombia
8 de diciembre Día de la Inmaculada Concepción
(Immaculate Conception Day)
(C)
24 de diciembre Nochebuena
(New Year's Eve)
(C)
25 de diciembre Navidad
(Christmas)
(C)
28 de diciembre Día de los Santos Inocentes
(Day of the Innocents)
(C)
Latin America
31 de diciembre Nochevieja
(New Year's Eve)
(IC)
Latin America and Spain

Christian and Catholic Celebrations

Religion plays an important role in Latin cultures. Therefore, religious holidays such as Christmas, Holy Week, Epiphany, and Corpus Christi are celebrated with processions and masses. Lent and Easter are some of the most important holidays of the year.

Another very significant celebration is Christmas or better yet, Christmas Eve. Individuals stay up until midnight to wish each other Feliz Navidad. In Mexico, Las Posadas, and in Colombia, La Novena de Aguinaldos are very famous. These involve nine days of prayers and carols starting December 16 until December 24. During these nights, families and friends participate in the prayer of the Novena, which symbolizes the pilgrimage of the Virgen Mary and Joseph through Bethlehem until the nativity of the Baby Jesus. It is very common to prepare special food and drinks to be shared every night after having prayed and sung villancicos (Christmas Carols).

Carnaval de Barranquilla, Colombia. Patrimonio Universal de la Humanidad.
Carnaval de Barranquilla

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