December in Mexico City is jam-packed with opportunities for celebration, highlighted by the Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe on Dec 12, posadas, office parties, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, just to name a few. I found during our time in DF that the Mexico City goverment (a.k.a. “GDF”– Gobierno del Distrito Federal) really gets into things around the holiday season. 2009 brought a new Guinness record for the World’s Largest Christmas Tree, followed quickly by the World’s Largest Rosca de Reyes. What could possibly be on tap for December 2011, you may be wondering??
Well, the GDF just announced some of their plans for this year’s Christmas/New Year events. I was curious how the general economic climate might affect things, but this hilarious sentence from the article in El Universal put my fears at ease: “Los festejos de Navidad y Año Nuevo en el último periodo de la administración de Marcelo Ebrard en la Ciudad de México serán más austeros y con menos atractivos espectaculares que las temporadas anteriores, excepto por el posible concierto de la estrella pop Britney Spears en el Ángel de la Independencia.”
Rough translation? “The Christmas/New Year’s festivities in the last perod of the Ebrard administration in Mexico City will be more austere and have fewer spectacular attractions than previous seasons… except for the possible Britney Spears concert at the Angel of Independence.” What?? While I’m not certain whether bringing in a washed-up-but-surely-still-high-dollar American pop star says to me “we are keeping a close eye on the budget,” I appreciate their enthusiasm nonetheless!
You’ll obviously want to monitor for Britney confirmation (they are trying for concerts on Dec 1, 3 & 6, and we’ll know next week whether negotiations have been a success), but here’s what you should mark your calendars for in the interim.
Christmas Events in Mexico City 2011
- Ice Skating in the Zocalo! December 4th will be the first day that the 2400 square meter ice rink will be open in the Centro Historico. Check out the photos of its construction. The ice rink should be open through January 7, 2012.
- 50-meter-tall Christmas Tree! Alas, they won’t be trying for a new world record this time, but there will still be a sizeable tree to view in the Zocalo. You’ll be able to see it from the pedestrianized street, Francisco I. Madero.
- December 4th Parade! At 6PM, lit-up floats carrying athletes that competed in the Panamerican Games will depart from the Diana statue on Reforma & head towards the Zocalo.
- **UPDATE–December 4th! Britney Spears free concert is confirmed!! It will be at 7PM @ the Monument to the Revolution.
- Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe on December 12th! Now this is not a GDF-sponsored event, but rather an annual pilgrimage to the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City made by tens of thousands of people. To be honest, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going on the actual feast day due to the crazy crowds… but if you want to experience a massive cultural event that happens all over Mexico & see its source, this is the place to be. I posted some logistical instructions here for how to get to the Basilica– scroll down about halfway through that post.
- More Glamorous December 18th Parade that includes a FAKE SNOWSTORM! This parade will start at La Morena and go up Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas. I believe it will cut right and end at street 20 de Noviembre in the Zocalo, but the map is a little unclear… (see below) But to reiterate: they are going to have machines launching fake snow into the air to fall on parade watchers. Love that.
- Nativity Scenes Galore! Apparently Reforma will have 3 nativity scenes instead of the usual huts selling random gifts/food, but there will also be a LIFE SIZE nativity scene in the Estadio Azteca parking lot. It just makes sense, people!
- More Stuff for Kids! The Zocalo will also be packed with various other activities/games/inflatable bounce houses/etc. to entertain your kiddos, so bring them on down.
- Another Crazy-Big Rosca de Reyes! While I am unclear if this is a world-record-breaking contender, there will nonetheless be another massive rosca de reyes (the king’s cake traditionally eaten on King’s Day) created on January 6th. Keep this in mind if you haven’t eaten enough during December.
Here’s a blurry map to give you a feel for the parade routes:
If you read Spanish (and/or can send website through a translator), monitor these two newspaper pages online that are tracking updates on holiday events in Mexico City: El Universal and Milenio. Also Ciudadanosenred.com.mx may have additional details– thanks to them for their helpful article summarizing these events!
Finally, you can check out the current progress of the Mexico City ice rink & general Zocalo preparations in the video below, courtesy of El Universal:
Have a great holiday season & take advantage of all that Mexico City has to offer during this festive time!!
**Updated 11/30 to reflect the dramatic free concert news of everyone’s favorite pop star.
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared in my blog are completely my own.