6 Unique Mexican Traditions

July 28, 2019  - by 
Children dressed in traditional Mexican outfit

Mexican traditions have become increasingly popular in regions well outside of Mexico, even inspiring the creation of popular films and other media. And it’s no wonder. These traditions reflect the rich history of Mexico and the fun personality of its people so well that it’s easy to fall in love with Mexican traditions.


If there’s one thing Mexico is known for, it’s the celebrations. Values such as family and friendship are deeply embedded in this country’s culture. What better way is there to celebrate both than to gather together for a healthy helping of music, dancing, food, and fireworks?

Learn more about some of the most popular celebrations in Mexico.


Colorful Piñatas

A popular Mexican tradition is the piñata. Today it is commonly used as a fun game at birthday parties, but its origins are very symbolic.

The piñata’s bright colors were designed as a symbol of temptation, with the stick representing the will to overcome sin. The blindfold symbolizes faith, while the candies and other goodies are added symbols of the riches of heaven tumbling down on the heads of those who defeated the evil.


In Mexico, people often give each other nicknames, all of which match the playful and endearing nature of the culture. Some of these include chaparrito, meaning “Short One,” or mi cielo, meaning “My Sky.” There is also chino, for “Curly One,” and abue, the abbreviated version of abuelo or abuela, meaning “grandfather” or “grandmother.”

In more rural areas of Mexico, nicknames are so big that you’re likely to have better luck asking for a person by nickname than by the person’s real name.


A colorful sculpture of an animal, known as an alebrijes, a colorful tradition of Mexico

Alebrijes are iconic of Mexican culture. This colorful tradition began in Mexico City in the early 20th century. An artist named Pedro Linares was known for his skill with pinatas carnival masks and other papier-mâché creations. During his career, he fell ill with a high fever and had several vivid dreams that eventually inspired the creation of these unique and brightly colored sculptures. You can now find them in many regions of Mexico, especially at street markets.

Meal Customs

A typical Mexican breakfast could include coffee and pan dulce (delicious sweet rolls). Snacks, or antojitos (“little whims”), are eaten at any time throughout the day. Tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas are some of the most common antojitos.

Lunch, or comida, happens between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. and is typically the main meal of the day. Supper, or cena, can be either light or elaborate and is typically eaten after 9:00 p.m.

Celebrate your heritage by discovering more about traditional Mexican food.  

Mexican Hat Dance

Colorful skirts moving with the dancers in the Mexican tradition called the Mexican hat dance

The Mexican hat dance, or Jarabe Tapatio, is Mexico’s national dance. It began as a courtship dance and dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, it is commonly performed by dance groups as a celebration of their culture.

The outfits of the dancers are beautifully decorated and represent traditional garb worn by Mexican men and women. The dance itself is intended to be lively, which is why the music is typically played by Mariachi bands or bands that use only string instruments.

Whether or not you have Mexican heritage in your family line, each of these traditions are fun to participate in and to explore. They offer a chance for loved ones to gather together and to celebrate the beauty of life—the sort of stuff that the people of Mexico have a talent for.

Discover Your Mexican Heritage

A Mexican family smiles and looks at each other while eating at the table

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  1. Thank you for your article it was beautifully written and remind me of my father and mother who were the first to come over to Mexico I’m first-generation American.

  2. Thank you for information and to have the interest in the Mexican culture. To some point there’s many more traditions you only cover some few, with the nicknames some go by shorting the first name of the person, like Pancho, Beto, Lalo, Chepe, I never liked nicknames when my brothers put me one, ( I hate it). Quinceañeras never like them, but is it’s a tradition that many young women liked. Is important that people like inform how is our country and our traditions, we need to be respect it and educated others of the different cultures we have in the world.

  3. I just wanted to say that one of the nicknames is incorrect. Chino doesn’t mean curly one it means Chinese or Asian.

    1. Yes, you are correct! Nicknames often have multiple meanings in Mexican culture. Chino is used for both connotations.

      1. nope not necciserlychino means asian or chines curly in spanish is rizada for female and rizado for male

  4. I see that many have different opinions about this website, you have a right to this opinion, I am Dominican and I fing this website very helpful, even if it does not make scene to me I try to learn something.

  5. What makes Latin Americans so obese. It’s before they get to the USA they’re fat. We in the USA are accused of being the most overweight in the world. What makes these people already look like Americans.

    1. Genetics is one reason, and I believe the main reason. We have DNA which determines our height, weight and other physical features , such as hair and eye color, and everything else about us. Corn as a staple is another. Poor nutrition is another reason. Lower economic status prevents families from making the healthy choices (this is partly why American families have in the same economic rung makes nutritious choices in the families’ diet). With the reasons listed above, it’s not too difficult to see why obesity can become problematic.

    2. why do u act like being obese is a good thing? Also, what makes Americans so superior that no one else can look like them.

  6. What is the customs of gifting food to neighbors. They often bring us a whole meals worth of food to feed a kingdom for no reason. Then when we give them a gift they bring a big pot of red soup with homoney. Don’t know the name. Then we gift them with Christmas ham and rolls. They in turn give us a big pot if the same soup but green not red.