Mandated Federal Holidays in Mexico
A discussion of Mandated Federal Holidays in Mexico. What days are fixed, what days float, and what happens if an employee works a federal holiday in Mexico. Employees can’t sign away their rights in Mexico. (Constitution of Mexico and Federal Labor Law.)
The specific part of the Mexican Federal Labor law states:
Days of Rest
Article 69.- For every six days of work, the worker will enjoy at least one day of rest, with full salary.
Article 70.- In jobs that require continuous work, the workers and the employer will establish by mutual agreement the days on which the workers must enjoy the weekly rest days.
Article 71.- In the regulations of this Law, it will be ensured that the weekly day of rest is Sunday. Workers who provide service on Sundays shall be entitled to an additional premium of at least twenty-five percent over the salary for ordinary days of work.
Article 72.- When the worker does not render his services during all the working days of the week, or when on the same day or in the same week he renders his services to several employers, he will have the right to be paid the part proportional to the salary of the rest days, calculated on the salary of the days in which he had worked or on which he had received from each employer.
Article 73.- Workers are not required to provide services on their days off. If this provision is broken, the employer will pay the worker, regardless of the salary that corresponds to him for the break, a double salary for the service provided.
Article 74. Mandatory rest days are:
I. The 1st of January;
II. The first Monday of February in commemoration of February 5;
III. The third Monday of March in commemoration of March 21;
IV. the 1st of May;
V. On September 16; The third Monday of November in commemoration of November 20;
VII. the 1st December every six years, when it corresponds to the transmission of the Federal Executive Power;
VII. December 25, and
IX. The one determined by the federal and local electoral laws, in the case of ordinary elections, to carry out the electoral day.
Article 75.- In the cases of the previous article, the workers and employers will determine the number of workers who must provide their services. If an agreement is not reached, the Permanent Conciliation Board or, failing that, the Conciliation and Arbitration Board, will decide. The workers will be obliged to provide the services and will have the right to be paid, regardless of the salary that corresponds to them for the mandatory rest, a double salary for the service provided.
Information in Detail
Mexico is a country that represents vitality and enthusiasm. It has a culture of mixed influences representing its rich history. The Mexicans are fun-loving, party-going people. They simply love to sing and dance. A large number of festivals celebrated by the Mexicans show just how they love to enjoy life. Most of their festivals are related to religion, but they only need an occasion to celebrate.
Whether it’s Christmas, New Years’, Easter, or a special someone’s birthday our guide gives you the information.
In Mexico there are 3 major kinds of holidays:
Statutory holiday: Holidays observed nationwide. Employees are entitled to a day off with regular pay and schools (public and private) are closed.
Civic holiday: These holidays are observed nationwide, but employees are not entitled to a day off with pay.
Festivities: These are traditional holidays to honor religious events, such as Carnival, Holy Week, Easter, etc., or public celebrations, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.
Statutory holidays (referred to as “feriados” or “días de asueto” in Mexico) are legislated through the federal government and ruled by Federal Law (Ley Federal del Trabajo). When a statutory holiday falls on a Sunday, Monday is considered a statutory holiday; if a statutory holiday falls on Saturday, Friday will be considered a statutory holiday.
January 1: New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo) – First day of the year.
February 5: Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) – Celebrates the Promulgation of the 1857 and 1917 Constitutions (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico). Observance: First Monday of February.
March 21: Benito Juárez’s Birthday (Natalicio de Benito Juárez) – Commemorates President Benito Juárez’s birthday on March 21, 1806 (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico). Observance: Third Monday of March
May 1: Labor Day (Día del Trabajo) – Commemorates the Mexican workers’ union movements (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
September 16: Independence Day (Día de la Independencia) – Commemorates the start of the Independence War by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1810. Observance: The third Monday in November.
November 20: Revolution Day (Día de la Revolución) – Commemorates the start of the Mexican Revolution by Francisco I. Madero in 1910 (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico). Observance: Third Monday of November.
December 1: Change of Federal Government (Transmisión del Poder Ejecutivo Federal). Observance: Every six years, when a new President is sworn in office.
December 25: Christmas (Navidad) – Christmas celebration; secular and religious holiday.
In addition to these eight dates, election days designated by federal and local electoral laws are also statutory holidays.
February 19: Army’s Day (Día del Ejército) – Celebrates the Mexican Army on the Loyalty Day (Día de la Lealtad), when President Madero was escorted by the Cadets of the Militar College to the National Palace.
February 24: Flag Day (Día de la Bandera) – Celebrates the current Flag of Mexico and honors the previous ones. Flag Day was implemented by President Lázaro Cárdenas in 1937.
March 18: Anniversary of the Oil Expropriation (Aniversario de la Expropiación Petrolera) – Celebrates the Oil Expropriation by President Gral. Lázaro Cárdenas in 1938.
April 21: Heroic Defense of Veracruz (Heroica Defensa de Veracruz) – Commemorates the defense against the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914.
May 5: Fifth of May (Cinco de Mayo) – Celebrates the victory of the Mexican Army, led by Gral. Ignacio Zaragoza against French forces in the city of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. Also widely celebrated in the United States. Although Mexican citizens feel very proud of the meaning of Cinco de Mayo, it is neither a national or federally mandated holiday in Mexico, but it is an official holiday in the State of Puebla where the mentioned battle took place.
May 8: Miguel Hidalgo’s Birthday (Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo) – Commemorates the birth in 1753 of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the initiator of the Mexican Independence War.
June 1: Marine’s Day (Día de la Marina) – Celebrates the Mexican Navy.
September 13: Boy Heroes Day or Heroic Cadets Day (Día de los Niños Héroes) – Celebrates the Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican–American War of 1847.
September 15: Cry of Dolores (Grito de Dolores) – Celebrates the Grito de Dolores, an event that marked the start of the Independence War against Spain on the eve of September 16, 1810. It took place at a church chapel in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, led by a Creole Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.
September 27: End of Independence War (Consumación de la Independencia) – Celebrates the end of the Mexican Independence War on 1821, 11 years after Father Hidalgo initiated it.
September 30: José Morelos’ Birthday (Natalicio de José Ma. Morelos y Pavón) – Commemorates the birth in 1765 of Father José María Morelos y Pavón, one of the founding fathers of the Mexican nation.
October 12: Columbus Day (Descubrimiento de América) – Commemorates the now known to be erroneous, but widely accepted date of the Discovery of the Americas in 1492 by the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus.
January 6: Epiphany (Día de Los Santos Reyes) – Celebrates the Biblical New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. Traditionally, children receive toys, and people buy a pastry called Rosca de Reyes. Be aware that anyone who bites into the bread and finds a figurine of the Christ child may be obligated to host a party for the Day of Candlemas (February 2). It is not a state holiday.
Easter Celebration – Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts based on cycles of the moon, in that they do not fall on a fixed date.
Septuagesima Sunday – The Easter celebration begins with Septuagesima Sunday or Shrovetide, the name for the ninth Sunday before Easter. The term Shrovetide is sometimes applied to the seventy days starting on Septuagesima Sunday and ending on the Saturday after Easter. Alternatively, the term is sometimes applied also to the period commonly called the Pre-Lenten Season. The earliest date on which Septuagesima Sunday can occur is January 18 (Easter falling on March 22 in a non-leap year) and the latest is February 22 (Easter falling on April 25 in a leap year). The 17-day period beginning on Septuagesima Sunday was intended to be observed as a preparation for the season of Lent, which is itself a period of spiritual preparation for Easter. In many countries, however, Septuagesima Sunday marked and still marks the traditional start of the carnival season, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, sometimes known as Mardi Gras.
Shrove Tuesday – beginning exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday. The word shrove comes from the word shrive, meaning absolve. The date can be any between 3 February and 9 March inclusive. On Shrove Tuesday, many traditional Christians make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God’s help in dealing with. As such, many churches offer confession and absolution on Shrove Tuesday. On Shrove Tuesday, many Christians finalize their decision with respect to what Lenten sacrifices they will make for Lent. While making a Lenten sacrifice, it is customary to pray for strength to keep it; many often wish others for doing so as well. During Shrovetide, many churches place a basket in the narthex to collect the previous year’s Holy Week palm branches that were blessed and distributed during the Palm Sunday liturgies; on Shrove Tuesday, churches burn these palms to make the ashes used during the services held on the very next day, Ash Wednesday.
Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras / Carnaval – Shrove Tuesday is also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday. in some countries. As this is the last day of Shrovetide, and the day before Lent begins, many people indulge in food that one might give up for the forty days of Lent. In some Christian countries, especially those where the day is called Mardi Gras or Carnaval, it is observed by engaging in “fat eating” or “gorging” before Lent. Many Christian congregations thus observe the day through eating pancakes or, more specifically, the holding of pancake breakfasts, as well as the ringing of church bells to remind people to repent of their sins before the start of Lent.
Ash Wednesday – a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting falling on the first day of Lent (the six weeks of penitence). Many Christians attend special church services. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the Shrove Tuesday burning of palms. The ashes of the palm or repentance ashes are placed on the foreheads of participants to either the words “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.” As it is the first day of Lent, many Christians begin Ash Wednesday by marking a Lenten calendar, praying a Lenten daily devotional, and making a Lenten sacrifice that they will not partake of until the arrival of Eastertide.
Lent – is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. Lent is a season of grief that necessarily ends with a great celebration of Easter. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, simple living, and self-denial. In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as giving up certain luxuries in imitation of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.
Palm Sunday – a Christian moveable feast commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is celebrated by the blessing and distribution of palm branches representing the palm branches which the crowd scattered in front of Christ as he rode into Jerusalem. Churches distribute palm branches to their congregations during their Palm Sunday liturgies. Christians take these palms, which are often blessed by clergy, to their homes where they hang them alongside crosses and crucifixes) or keep them in their Bibles or devotionals.
Holy Wednesday – commemorates the Bargain of Judas by a clandestine spy among the disciples. In some special services, all the candles on a special candelabra and on the altar are gradually extinguished except for one. This was then hidden and the church is left in complete darkness. Next, after the recitation of Psalms 50–51 and a special prayer, a loud noise is made, which is a signal for the ministers to depart, symbolizing the confusion and terror that accompanied the death of Jesus, including the earthquake that, according to the Gospel of Matthew 27:51, followed. This custom is still retained by those Catholic Churches which celebrate the pre-1955 Holy Week Reforms.
Maundy Thursday – the day during Holy Week that commemorates the Washing of the Feet (Maundy) and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. “Maundy” comes from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus’ words “I give you a new commandment.” Maundy Thursday initiates the Paschal Triduum, the period which commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper or service of worship is normally celebrated in the evening.
Good Friday – a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. Many Catholics observe Good Friday with fasting and church services in which a Service of the Great Three Hours’ Agony is held from noon until 3 pm, the time duration that the Bible records as darkness covering the land to Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross.
Holy Saturday – commemorates the Harrowing of Hell while Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb and begins the celebration of the Easter Vigil service.
Easter Sunday – commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD.
February 14: Valentine’s Day (Día de San Valentín) – Celebrates amorous unions. On this day, traditionally, chocolates, flowers, jewelry, dinner, and serenade are presented to special love interests. This may include spouses, loved ones including family members, lovers, as well as to friends. It is not a state holiday.
April 30: Children’s Day (Día del Niño) – Honors all the children. It is not a state holiday.
May 10: Mother’s Day (Día de Las Madres) – Honors all the mothers throughout the country. This includes the grandmothers and great-grandmothers, as well as those serving in the role of a mother. It is not a state holiday.
May 15: Teacher’s Day (Día del Maestro) – Honors all the teachers throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
May 23: Students’ Day (Día del Estudiante) – Honors all the students throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
Third Sunday of June: Father’s Day (Día del Padre) – Honors all the fathers throughout the country. This includes the grandfathers and great-grandfathers, as well as those serving in the role of a father. It is not a state holiday.
November 1: All Saints’ Day or Day of the Dead (Día de Todos Los Santos) – Honors deceased relatives and friends (who were less than 18 years of age and unmarried) with candles, food, flower offerings, altars, and pre-Hispanic and Christian rituals. It is not a state holiday.
November 2: All Souls’ Day or Day of the Dead (Día de Los Fieles Difuntos) – Honors deceased relatives and friends (who were more than 18 years of age or married) with candles, food, flower offerings, altars, and pre-Hispanic and Christian rituals. It is not a state holiday.
December 12: Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe) – Celebrates the day that the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on Tepeyac Hill to the native Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. It is not a state holiday.
December 16–24: Las Posadas (Las Posadas) – Commemorates the Biblical New Testament story of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter in Bethlehem. Consists of candlelight processions as well as stops at various nativity scenes.
December 24: Christmas Eve (Nochebuena) – Celebrates the eve of the nativity of Jesus, as both a secular and religious winter holiday. The traditional treats for this holiday are buñuelos, tamales and atole or champurrado. Sometimes they eat gelatina de colores (different flavors of gelatin and milk-based gelatin mixed together to make a colorful treat). Las Posadas are celebrated nine days before Nochebuena, usually accompanied by a piñata party for children and dance music for adults.
December 28: Day of the Innocents (Dia de Los Santos Innocentes) – On this day, people perform practical jokes on one other. It is equivalent to April Fools’ Day (April 1) celebrated in other countries. People should be reluctant to believe anything that other people might say or do. If any person has fallen victim to the joke, the person pulling the joke will say “¡Inocente palomita…!” which literally means ‘Innocent little dove‘ (equivalent to saying April Fools!). An unusual joke that is taken quite seriously among many individuals is that if they request to borrow any amount of money the day of the holiday and later follow it with ¡Inocente palomita…! the victim cannot exercise their right to the return of the money. Thus, never loan money on the 28 of December unless you never want it repaid.
December 31: New Year’s Eve (Año Nuevo Vìspera or simply Año Nuevo) – New Year’s Eve is celebrated in many parts of Mexico by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown while making a wish with each one. Families decorate homes and parties with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances, and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. Another tradition is making a list of all the bad or unhappy events from the current year; before midnight, this list is thrown into a fire, symbolizing the removal of negative energy from the new year. At the same time, thanks are expressed for all the good things had during the year that is coming to its end so that they will continue to be had in the new year. A late-night dinner is celebrated with families, the traditional meal being turkey and mole. Those who want to party generally go out afterward, to local parties or nightclubs. In Cuernavaca there is a huge street festival on New Year’s Eve; celebrations center around the Zocalo, the city’s main square. You can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks, and sparklers. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: “Feliz Año Nuevo!” People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Auld Lang Syne (in Spanish), the Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788.