FEBRUARY-MARCH: CARNAVAL (Mardi Gras - Usually Falls in February)

During Carnaval Week, the main square is filled by vendor booths offering games, masks, beads, noisemakers and specialty foods. Costumed teams dance in and around the square, actors present their shows and costumed pets of all types are on parade.

To start the big public evening shows, the royals are coronated in the square and the King of Carnaval proclaims that the time for fun and craziness is here. The highlight for most are the parades featuring handmade floats, music, dancing, magic and comedy acts along the malecon beginning the Saturday before Ash Wednesday and culminating in the Grand Parade Tuesday night. Carnaval is a great time to be in Cozumel and everyone is welcome to come in costume.

MAY, FIRST WEEK - EL CEDRAL

The El Cedral Festival honors the Mayan families who came from the mainland to found the modern-day Cozumel during the War of the Castes in 1848.  The fair is held in the southern settlement of El Cedral and features rides, games, food and craft vendors, farm exhibits, dances, bullfights and more. To alleviate traffic congestion on the southern highway, shuttle buses are provided at the Convention Center) On May 3rd, The Day of the Holy Cross, the open sea crossing is reinacted by a group of rowers who start out at Xcaret. Also, the Boar's Head and Pole of Ribbons dances are performed that day. 

MAY, MIDDLE - RODEO DE LANCHAS MEXICANAS FISHING TOURNAMENT

This weekend sports fishing tournament draws teams and boats from around t to compete for the largest billfish, Mahi Mahi, tuna and barracuda. If you don't fish, come to the weighing station to see the huge catches. Open to all who register their boats in Mexico.

JUNE, LATE - SAN PEDRO Y SAN PABLO FESTIVAL 

A fair to honor Saints Peter and Paul, complete with rides, food and craft shows.

SEPTEMBER 16 - MEXICAN INDEPENDECE DAY CELEBRATION

A national holiday. On the night of September 15,  residents and visitors come to City Hall to participate in the traditional cry for independence, Viva Mexico!, and to enjoy a fireworks display, folk dancing, music and food.  Independence Day, September 16, features a parade through Cozumel's downtown waterfront. Throughout the week, residents and visitors are invited to visit the fair near the City Hall that includes food stands, games, dancing and shopping.

SEPTEMBER, LAST WEEK - FIESTAS DE SAN MIGUEL ARCANGEL

San Miguel (Saint Michael) is Patron Saint of Cozumel. The celebration begins with colorful processions that start from the church of San Miguel near the main plaza 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 houpiles. On the last day, a procession of fishermen carry an image of San Miguel to the downtown pier and board a boat. The public accompanies the fisherman to the pier and board a ferry, surrounded by fishing boats, to join the procession by sea, throwing flowers into the ocean as they sail along.

NOVEMBER 1 -2 DIA DE LOS MUERTOS (DAY OF THE DEAD)

It was widely held that life was a dream and only in death was a human being truly awake and his soul set free. This is one reason that you see shrines commemorating the dear departed everywhere in Mexico -- most of them decorated with flowers, candles, personal objects and/or food. These shrines become even larger and more ornate for the Day of the Dead celebration. Bakeries offer special sweets shaped as skulls or wrapped in skeleton foils. Flowers and memorials fill the cemetery at the southern end of Ave. 5.   On November 1, All Saints Day, is the day when the spirits of children are expected to return and Mexicans pay homage to the souls of 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, Day of the Dead, all adults who have passed away are celebrated. Families leave the favorite food and drink of the deceased on a special altar constructed in their home or on the tomb of their departed ancestor.

NOVEMBER 20 - MEXICAN REVOLUTION DAY

The Revolution of 1910 is celebrated a with lively parade along the malecon to City Hall. The Bomberos. Police and school children participate and perform acrobatics -- on the ground, on motorcycles and on horses and on fire ladders. Plenty of drums and horns, too. A great show!

DECEMBER 1-12 - DIA DE LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE

The Virgin of Guadalupe is one of the most important religious figures in Mexico and her celebration is an island-wide event. On December 1, many religious and non-religious groups participate in a procession through the island to the Parish of the Virgin of Guadalupe. On December 11, there's a race around the island (more of a march than a race!) with as many people participating as possible. The group begins at the Guadalupe Parish, crosses the island to return to the Parish in time for a fair with regional foods, folk dancing and musical performances, including traditional mariachi bands singing to the Virgin. The fair, feasting and processions continue on Dec. 12,