Wondering if Mexico celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday? You’ve come to the right guide!
I’m an American travel blogger that lives in Mexico and am here to let you know exactly how this traditional holiday is celebrated in Mexico.
In this blog post, I’m sharing all the details about Thanksgiving in Mexico, including whether or not it’s a national holiday and how it’s celebrated by locals.
So whether you’re an expat that’s just landed in Mexico or are simply going to be visiting Mexico on vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve got you covered.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Thanksgiving holiday in Mexico!
Does Mexico celebrate Thanksgiving?
No, Thanksgiving is not a national holiday in Mexico and isn’t widely celebrated by Mexicans. However, many American and Canadian expats living in Mexico still celebrate Thanksgiving with traditional Thanksgiving meals and gatherings.
Additionally, some restaurants in tourist areas offer Thanksgiving specials or traditional Thanksgiving meals.
If you’re going to be visiting Mexico on vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday, you’ll likely be able to find a Thanksgiving celebration at your hotel, resort, or a local restaurant catering to American tourists.
What is Mexican Thanksgiving called?
The translation of Thanksgiving in Spanish is “Día de Acción de Gracias,” or “Day of Giving Thanks” in English. However, the holiday isn’t celebrated in Mexico with the same traditions and customs as in the United States.
Some Mexicans know about this special occasion as an American tradition and may recognize the day as a time to give extra thanks or celebrate blessings, but it’s not a major holiday that’s widely celebrated in Mexico.
Thanksgiving throughout Mexico doesn’t typically include a big meal or gathering with family, like it does in the US or Canada.
When is Thanksgiving celebrated in Mexico?
Mexican Thanksgiving day is celebrated on the same day as in the United States: the fourth Thursday of November.
But as previously mentioned, Thanksgiving isn’t a national holiday and many Mexicans may not even be aware that it’s Thanksgiving Day.
Canadian Thanksgiving is also celebrated by Canadian expats in Mexico on the second Monday of October.
Who celebrates Thanksgiving in Mexico?
Thanksgiving in Mexico is typically celebrated by expat communities, mostly American citizens and expats, Canadian expats, or expats from other English-speaking countries.
Most Mexicans do not celebrate Thanksgiving, but they may still join in on Thanksgiving festivities if invited by expat friends or coworkers.
Thanksgiving traditions in Mexico
Mexican Thanksgiving celebrations often mirror traditional Thanksgiving customs in the United States or Canada.
Many expat communities gather for Thanksgiving dinners and potlucks with friends and loved ones, often cooking traditional Thanksgiving dishes like turkey as the main course, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.
Some expats living in Mexico choose to put their own Mexican twist on Thanksgiving by incorporating traditional Mexican dishes and flavors into their Mexican Thanksgiving meal.
And like Thanksgiving celebrations in the US, Thanksgiving gatherings in Mexico often involve sharing what you’re grateful for, and enjoying Thanksgiving desserts like pumpkin pie or pecan pie.
Additionally, lots of restaurants in tourist areas, such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Cabo, usually offer Thanksgiving specials or traditional Thanksgiving meals for tourists and expats looking for a taste of home.
Harvest decor and fall-inspired decorations like leaves, pumpkins, and regional flowers may also adorn restaurant tables in Mexico during this time of the year.
But for most Mexicans, Thanksgiving Day is simply just another day. They may not know about Thanksgiving or its traditions and it’s not a holiday that’s celebrated with special meals or gatherings.
Where to celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico
If you’re looking for Thanksgiving festivities in Mexico, you will most likely find them in the main tourist destinations in Mexico like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos.
In these tourist towns, some restaurants may offer Thanksgiving specials or traditional Thanksgiving meals for tourists.
Some restaurants might even offer fully-prepared Thanksgiving meals that you can order ahead and pick up to go, saving you the stress of cooking and cleaning!
Additionally, expat communities may gather for Thanksgiving potlucks or dinners, so reaching out to expat groups or forums in your area may also lead you to a Mexican Thanksgiving meal or celebration. Keep an eye out for Thanksgiving events on expat Facebook groups.
And of course, if you’re staying with friends or family that are also celebrating Thanksgiving, gather together in your vacation rental for a Thanksgiving feast at home!
What do they eat for Thanksgiving in Mexico?
As Thanksgiving isn’t widely celebrated in Mexico, there aren’t traditional foods and Thanksgiving dishes that Mexicans typically eat on Thanksgiving Day.
But for expat Thanksgiving dinners and gatherings, traditional Thanksgiving dishes like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie may be served.
In some cases, Mexican Thanksgiving dishes may also be included in the feast or incorporated into Thanksgiving dishes like turkey enchiladas, roast pork, chorizo pumpkin soup, cranberry salsa, or mole with spicy chipotle peppers.
This is an especially unique way to experience the rich traditions of Mexican culture and Mexican recipes while also embracing Thanksgiving traditions.
Can you find Thanksgiving food in Mexican grocery stores?
You may be able to find some Thanksgiving ingredients, such as canned pumpkin or boxed stuffing mix, at larger supermarkets in Mexico like Walmart, Chedraui, or Costco.
But for the most part, these ingredients are harder to come by. I searched for canned pumpkin all over Playa del Carmen a few years ago and was unable to find it!
Travelista Tip: If you see any of these Thanksgiving food items in grocery stores in Mexico, it’s best to stock up early as these items can come and go very quickly!
For fully-prepared Thanksgiving dishes like turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, you may have better luck at a restaurant, specialty store, or international bakery.
There is a German bakery in Playa del Carmen called Das Brot, that usually sells pumpkin pies but you’ll want to get your order in ahead of time!
Thanksgiving in Mexico: FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Mexican Thanksgiving traditions:
In Spanish, turkey translates to “pavo.”
In addition to the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Liberia and some Caribbean islands (such as Grenada and Saint Lucia).
Other countries such as Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom also have Thanksgiving-like holidays, but they are not celebrated on the same day as Thanksgiving in North America.
Mexico does not have an official holiday equivalent to Thanksgiving. The holiday is known in Mexico as an American holiday and translates to “Dia de Accion de Gracias”.
Some Mexicans many recognize this day as more of a religious holiday to give extra thanks but it is not celebrated with the same traditions as in the United States and Canada.
Black Friday is not widely celebrated in Mexico. However, Mexico has a similar annual sales event known as “Buen Fin” which usually takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Many Mexican retailers participate in Buen Fin and offer sales and discounts, similar to Black Friday in the United States.
Additionally, some American retailers with locations in Mexico (such as Walmart or Sam’s Club) may also participate in Black Friday sales.
Cyber Monday has also become more popular in recent years as online shopping continues to grow in popularity.
Conclusion: Mexico Thanksgiving Guide
I hope this Thanksgiving in Mexico guide has helped to answer some of your questions about Thanksgiving traditions and celebrations in Mexico.
Overall, the Thanksgiving holiday in Mexico may not be celebrated in the same way as in the United States or Canada, but there are still opportunities to gather with family members, friends, and loved ones and enjoy Thanksgiving feasts with traditional dishes or Mexican twists.
The holiday is celebrated more so by expats but may also be recognized by Mexicans as a day for giving thanks and celebrating blessings of the past year.
If you’re planning to travel to Mexico over Thanksgiving, you’ll more than likely find some kind of Thanksgiving festivities at your hotel, resort, or local restaurant for a Mexican Thanksgiving dinner.
And you’ll also likely get the chance to try out some Mexican food specialties incorporated into the Mexican Thanksgiving feast.
And while Mexico doesn’t typically celebrate Black Friday on the day after Thanksgiving, don’t forget about similar sales events like Buen Fin for pre-Thanksgiving shopping deals! Happy Thanksgiving!