Riviera Maya Blog

San Miguel Festival in Cozumel is as Authentic as it Gets

Nine days of parades, local art fairs, dancing in the street, & mouthwatering tropical Mexican cuisine make The Feast of San Miguel a premier celebration of Yucatan culture on our island neighbor of Cozumel, September 21st-29th.

Celebrate Yucatan Culture at San Miguel Festival in Cozumel

September 21st-29th

San Miguel, Cozumel

If your idea of a proper vacation is immersing yourself in local customs and cultures, be sure to make a trip or two to Cozumel, September 21st-29th. This is when our island neighbor celebrates their patron saint during La Fiesta de San Miguel Arcángel (The Feast of San Miguel). Daily parades, dancing in the streets, reverent masses, local artisans, colorful fireworks, and some of the best food you’ll ever eat make the nine-day festival an absolute must for travelers craving a taste of authentic Yucatan culture.

History of the Celebration

Many myths and misconceptions surround the roots of San Miguel Fest in Cozumel. At the heart of these yarns is a treasured statue of Saint Michael that dates back over 150 years. Some legends purport it was unearthed a century ago on the Saint’s holiday (September 29th), and the city was thus renamed San Miguel (the name is actually derived from “San Miguel de Xamancab,” it’s Spanish / Mayan name in 1527). Others claim it was brought to Cozumel when the Spanish first arrived in 1518. The truth is, the ivory and gold depiction of San Miguel arrived on the island with a group of refugees fleeing the Yucatan “War of Castes” in 1848. Today, the statue rests in the city’s namesake church, removed once a year for the Fisherman’s Parade on September 29th.

The Day of the Feast Itself

If you only partake in one day of the festival, make it the last, when local fisherman carry the beloved statue of San Miguel from the church to the pier, and out to sea on a boat. All the city joins them, circling with boats of their own, throwing flowers into the water, singing songs, and honoring their patron saint in hopes he will protect them from hurricanes, fill the sea with fish, and the city with prosperity for the year to come.

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