7 junio, 2024

13 Traditions and Customs of Michoacán (Mexico)

One of the traditions and customs of Michoacan The most recognized is the dance of the old men. This is a dance of pre-Hispanic origin that was a way of worshiping the gods of Fire, Time, and the Sun, among others.

Epiphany (January 6) and Candlemas Day (February 2) are other traditions of this state, which are related to each other. On the day of the Epiphany (also called the day of the Three Kings) a kind of cake called Rosca de Reyes is chopped, which hides inside it a doll of the Child Jesus. The person who gets the doll must prepare a dinner of tamales for the day of Candlemas.

Other festivals in this region are carnival, Holy Week, Independence Day, the Day of the Dead, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the Day of the Innocent Saints.

Main traditions and customs of Michoacán

1- Gastronomy

The gastronomy of the Michoacán region shows a great variety of products thanks to the fact that extensive agricultural and livestock activities are carried out in the area. Added to this, the gastronomy shows indigenous elements, such as spices.

The traditional dishes of Michoacán are:

Carnitas, which are pork steaks cooked in a stew.
Corundas, which are triangular tamales wrapped in corn husks. These can be filled with cheese, hot chilies, pork, vegetables and legumes.
Churipos, which are cuts of meat (pork, beef, or chicken) seasoned with spices and cooked in a stew. In general, this stew is accompanied with corundas.
Uchepos, which are tamales made with corn (sweet corn). Sometimes milk or milk cream can be added to make the consistency of the tamale softer.
Guacamole. The one from Michoacán is made with onions, cilantro and hot chili peppers.
The typical sweets of this area are:
Goat milk caramel, which is a container with sweets made from milk and sugar.
Ate, which is made with fresh fruits and water.
Capirotada, which is a white bread pudding, cheese, tomato, peanuts, raisins and cactus. This mixture is covered with syrup.

Among the drinks, the charanda (made with fermented agave resin or sugar cane juice) and quince liquor stand out.

2- Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 2. However, in some areas the celebrations start from October 31st.

During these days, the relatives and friends of the deceased sleep in the cemeteries where the remains rest. You can accompany the night with the songs and favorite dishes of the deceased.

In addition, the tombstones are decorated with lighted candles, flower arrangements, food dishes and typical sweets.

3- Virgin of Guadalupe

December 12 is the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, when the anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe to Juan Diego on the Tepeyac hill, in the year 1531, is celebrated.

In one of the apparitions, the Virgin asked Diego to go to the bishop of Mexico, tell him about the meetings between the two of them and ask him to build a church on Tepeyac hill (where Mary had appeared to him).

The bishop asked Diego for proof that would attest to his encounters with the Virgin. Diego returned to the Tepeyac hill and found a bush of roses, which did not grow in those arid lands.

Diego took the roses and wrapped them in his ayate (cloak). Seeing the flowers, the bishop was convinced of the truth of what Diego said.

In addition, when unwrapping the cape, Diego revealed the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, brunette and with indigenous features.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico. For this reason, the festivities in her honor are celebrated throughout the territory with dances, parades, masses, among others.

4- Oldies Dance

The dance of the old men is a dance of pre-Hispanic origin that is done in honor of the gods of the aborigines (the god of Fire, Time, the Sun, among others). It is usually carried out by the Purépechas, who are natives of Pátzcuaro and Michoacán.

The dancers put on corn husk masks. These masks are painted with smiling old faces.

At the beginning of the dance, the movements of the participants evoke old age: they are slow and deliberate. Later, the steps become faster and more agile, as if the “old men” were rejuvenating.

Because it is an aboriginal dance, it has a sacred connotation and is a prayer to the gods: the dancers ask for good health even in old age.

5- Epiphany

Epiphany, also called Three Kings Day, is celebrated on January 6 throughout the Mexican territory.

During this day, the arrival of the three Magi to Bethlehem is commemorated, who brought gifts to the Child Jesus. Following this tradition, in Michoacán children receive gifts for the epiphany.

In addition to giving presents to the youngest, the rosca de reyes is eaten. This bagel has a doll of the Child Jesus inside. The person who finds the Child Jesus in his portion of cake must prepare tamales for the day of Candlemas.

6- Candlemas Day

Candlemas Day is celebrated on February 2 by eating tamales.

7- Carnival

Carnival is celebrated on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. In Michoacán there are fairs, gastronomic fairs, contests, concerts, parades, rodeos, among others.

8- Easter

During this week religious rituals are carried out to remember the passion of Christ. The Stations of the Cross and midnight masses are common.

9- Independence Day

Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. In Michoacán, parades are held through the main streets of the state.

10- Day of the Innocent Saints

It is celebrated on December 28 to commemorate the mass murder of children ordered by King Herod after the birth of Jesus. On this day, it is common to play pranks on people.

11-Craft market on Palm Sunday

Every Palm Sunday in the city of Uruapan the most renowned street market in Michoacán and the largest in Latin America is held. In this, more than 1000 artisans meet to sell their creations.

Activities such as contests, exhibitions of indigenous costumes, typical food, dances and musical presentations are also carried out.

12-University Tunas Festival

It is celebrated on October 15 by the Tuna Universitaria student association that makes up a band that plays traditional Spanish-American and European music. People gather to listen and enjoy this event for free.

13-National Clown Day

On December 10 in Morelia, National Clown Day is celebrated and commemorated. A parade is held in the historic center with floats and a children’s artistic caravan where dozens of clowns gather.


Michoacan, Mexico: Celebrations and traditions. Retrieved on August 31, 2017, from sunofmexico.com.
Introduction to Michoacán: The soul of Mexico. Retrieved on August 31, 2017, from mexconnect.com.

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