Mexican Traditions: 2 Birthdays for the Price of 1

Did you know that Mexicans get sort of a birthday do over? How? Well, I’ll tell ya. Today’s lesson in Mexican culture is all about  Birthdays & Santos.

In Mexico you have two days that are all about celebrating  YOU!  2 days  through out the year.  #1 The day you were born and #2 The day Of Your Santo(Saint).  Once upon a time in Mexico, because the nation is primarily & fervently Catholic people where named after Saints, because they were born on the day that was dedicated to the remembrance of that Saint. So when your birthday came around people would either wish you a happy birthday or Saint’s day.  As time went on that tradition died down, people  began to choose name in other ways.  Although both names &  naming methods now differ,  peoples names still coincide with those of Saints & so…. When a certain Saint’s day coincides with your name, people celebrate you!  This is  because it is a reminder of old birthday traditions & it’s another reminder of how awesome it is that you are a part of this world & their lives.  Some people like to celebrate their birthday real big & have just a little treat or reminder on their Saint’s day. While others do the opposite, the like just a hug or phone call on their bday & a big deal celebration on their Saint’s day.


On the day of a loved one’s “Santo” or Bday : Mom, Dad, Grandma, grandpa, bros, sis, friends, Girlfriend/boyfriend, etc…  It is tradition to wake them up with a serenade in the early morning. You sing them the traditional birthday song “Las Mañanitas” = which translates to something like… The darling/sweet  Morning song or melodies. This  song is considered a very important & meaningful present.

Usually the serenade is done with a  Mariachi band, but you know Mariachis are expensive….  & So sometimes the serenade consists of whatever  you can swing. Some people sing by themselves with a track for accompaniment. Others  like flat broke youngsters in love  lol  , get their friends together & they help the guy sing to his girl. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s done with love, it is a present that is beautiful, romantic & memorable.  Besides the really cool serenade, it is customary to make the persons favorite food on that day, take them out for a treat & prepare a special event or surprise. Presents are given on this day too, but it is more about showing a person how much you care through actions rather then through presents.   The whole day is about treating to all the things they love , & being extra nice & loving toward them.

These are the Morning Melodies that King David sang. This is the song sung to all the lovely maidens(you say handsome gentlemen if you’re singing it to a guy.)Today it is your Santo &  so we sing them to you. Wake my love arise & see…  Daylight has come. Little birds are singing & the moon has tucked it self away.  How beautiful today is. This, the  day on which I have come to greet you. We all come full of delight & cheer, filled with pleasure to come & congratulate you. On the day that you were born, all the flowers were born. Atop your baptismal font nightingales sang.  The night is now turning to day, daylight has touched us now. Wake up early in the morn the night  has turn to day.

On someones birthday you can take them to a nature park/national park/historical landmark.

(All these arevery popular in Mexico, many of these parks can be found throughout.)

A walk in a regular public park is also suitable. You can enjoy fresh air buy a colorful balloon from a vendor at the park.  Or a yummy cotton candy.

Theme Parks & National Land marks

In Mexico Bañiarios (water parks) tend to be more popular than roller coaster parks.

Hybrids of theme park & land mark exist such as “El Bosque de Chapultepec” (Chapultepec Forest) in Mexico City

which is a giant park in middle of the modern, bustling  part of the city , but it’s right next to  historical Chapultepec castle. Modern meets, classical.

Or you can just go down town to  “El Centro” (the center) as people call it & shop around , take in a meal, & even catch a show by street performers.