Home LifestyleArt and Culture The 8 Most Important Traditions and Customs of Yucatan

The 8 Most Important Traditions and Customs of Yucatan

by Magali Alvarez
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Some of Yucatán’s best known traditions and customs are the jarana, the Yucatecan rodeo, religious celebrations and indigenous festivities. Yucatán is a distinct and emblematic Mexican region due to the blending of Mayan culture with European heritage.

The Yucatecan population enjoys a wealth of centuries-old traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation and customs that relate to daily life.

Location of Yucatan
Between dances, local festivities, indigenous celebrations, music and typical costumes, Yucatan is one of the most culturally rich tourist destinations in the region.

The stories of travelers who have arrived in a distant land with an advanced and exotic civilization become reality in daily activities and special events of an intense cultural agenda of Merida and the rest of the towns.

Main traditions and customs of Yucatán

La Jarana, the typical dance of Yucatán

Photo: Lifeder

The Jarana is a musical style full of fun, emotion and gallantry, combining European rhythms with indigenous sounds.

Those who perform this dance dress for the occasion in traditional costumes to make each performance even more colorful.

Although the Jarana is one of the essential events of every cultural celebration, it is also part of everyday life and a source of pride for the inhabitants of Yucatán.

Vaqueria, the Yucatecan Rodeo

Photo: Lifeder

Ranch festivals are very popular in Mexico and Yucatán is no exception, with long days that include demonstrations, contests, artistic presentations and celebrations of traditional clothing, food and dances.

Other important elements of these festivities are bullfights and “bombas”, poems or about feminine beauty and regional customs.

Indigenous Festivities

Photo: Lifeder

Temple of Kukulcan at the archaeological site of Chichen Itza.
Yucatan is a popular tourist destination for its Mayan heritage, with dozens of historical sites with different meanings and cultural relevance. Each place has its own agenda of events with its own focus and particularities.

The Spring Equinox festival is held March 19-21 each year at the pyramid of Kukulcan and the Autumn Equinox festival is September 20-22, both in Chichen Itza. Izamal and Uzmal are other sites that regularly host cultural events.

Religious festivities

Photo: Lifeder

Virgin of Izamal, “Mama Linda”.
The celebration of “Mama Linda”, patron saint of Yucatán and Lady of the Immaculate Conception, takes place on December 8, but preparations begin in late November.

Everything ends with a serenade and typical presentations. Another important date in the religious-cultural calendar is the day of San Antonio de Pádova during June, which includes the “descent of the saint” and the “gremios” or processions that go out and return to the different churches.

Other religious festivities of great attendance are those held during Holy Week, such as “Palm Sunday”, “Maundy Thursday”, “Good Friday”, “Holy Saturday” and “Glory or Resurrection Sunday”.

In addition, the Carnival of Merida and other similar events that take place in different towns throughout the year are celebrations in honor of the patron saints of each town and usually last seven days.

Typical costumes

Photo: Lifeder

Yucatecans are very proud of their cultural heritage and one of the most faithful and colorful demonstrations is through regional attire.

The attire has undergone modifications and additions over time but maintains a millenary base as a legacy of the Mayan culture in conjunction with Spanish and Caribbean details.

The “terno” is the traditional dress, used in cowboy parties and weddings, with the “hipil”, the “fustán” and the “jubón” as main elements.

It is normal that the hipil is also used daily as a decorative accessory. Among men, the “guayabera” is the distinctive piece along with a straw hat.


The origins of Yucatecan cuisine go back to the Mayas, a people who already prepared spicy and flavorful dishes. Any Yucatecan recipe cannot be without seasonings such as coriander, oregano, chili or sour orange.

Cochinita pibil, papadzules, panuchos or huevos motuleños are some of the most recognizable dishes from this part of the country.

The rickshaw

Photo: Lifeder

The rickshaw was introduced in Yucatán during the Spanish colonial times, being used to transport passengers from one city to another. Over time, it also began to be used as a method of transportation within cities such as Mérida.

Although at first they were for private use, over time many businessmen used them as cabs, maintaining their use to this day.

The Yucatecan trova

Photo: Lifeder

This musical genre is composed of two requinta guitars, two Spanish sextas guitars and a guitarrón. It is of Creole origin and has its origins in the late nineteenth century. Little by little it generated an identity and, in the mid 20’s of the 20th century, it already had national recognition.
Its style is similar to the Cuban clave and bolero, as well as to the Colombian bambuco. His compositions deal with love and everything considered romantic.

TYT Newsroom

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