When will the Tlaxcal Carnival take place in 2023?

Carnival in Tlaxcala is always celebrated a few days before Ash Wednesday, thereby allowing people to have last-minute fun before the strict 40-day fast before Easter.

  • Tentative dates for the 2023 Tlaxcal Carnival: February 17-21.

Where is the Tlaxcal Carnival held?

The Tlaxcala Carnival is held in all 60 municipalities that make up the Mexican state of Tlaxcala.

But if we consider the capital city of Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala de Chicotencatl, the carnival procession begins on Independence Avenue, then moves along Constitution Square to Benito Juárez Avenue and ends at the intersection of Justo Sierra Street and Juárez Avenue in the city center.

How is the Tlaxcal Carnival celebrated?

Because the Tlaxcal Carnival is a folk folk festival, its main attraction is the performance of traditional Tlaxcal dances with fun costumes and live musical performances.

Each municipality in the state that participates in the carnival is part of a specific troupe, called a «camada», and each one presents its own unique dance and attire.

During the carnival there are observation decks in all the cities of the state from which it is very convenient to observe the event. The fun and dancing lasts from early in the morning until late at night, the «camada» alternating one after the other, accompanied by various musical instruments such as trumpets, drums, keyboards, and saxophones.

In addition, the Tlaxcal Carnival is filled with many other interesting events, including children’s contests, art exhibits, workshops, souvenir and handicraft trade, and other activities related to the state’s old traditions.

History of the holiday:

The Tlaxcal Carnival is believed to have originated back in the 17th century to help ordinary people to have fun. At that time, people of high social status liked to organize exquisite festivities, access to which was forbidden to ordinary people. It is not for nothing that carnival costumes and masks parody the attire of secular society.

Also in some elements of the Tlaxcal dance performances mockery of the traditions of the French and Spanish people can be traced. For example, in the middle of the 20th century women began to participate in the Tlaxcal Carnival, although previously it was forbidden.

Over time, the carnival costumes became more elaborate, and the process of making them required a great deal of effort and time.

  • Today, all 60 municipalities in the state of Tlaxcala participate in carnival processions, each with unique attire, choreography, and musical accompaniment.

Celebration plan:

The Carnival in Tlaxcala consists of several main events, held on a particular day of celebration, and in which about 400 troupes of artists take part.

Day 1 is Carnival Friday, February 17, 2023.

  • The welcome event that marks the beginning of the carnival is the Burning of the Bad Mood. It is a time-honored tradition that signals people to let go of all negative emotions and stress in order to fully enjoy the holiday. The symbol of a «bad mood» is a puppet, which usually portrays a famous person who is not distinguished by good merit. It can be a political figure, a popular artist, or even some negative event. In 2017, for example, residents of Tlaxcala burned an image of Donald Trump, and last year, a coronavirus infection.

Day 2 is Carnival Saturday, February 18, 2023.

  • The second day is the coronation of the Carnival Queen and King, who become the main link in the festivities and are responsible for keeping all «subjects» happy. The Carnival Queen is elected through a beauty contest, where the most elegantly dressed contestant wins. The coronation of the king, in turn, takes place in a more cheerful and fanciful format, because the prototype is the Roman god of mockery, Mom.

Day 3 – 5, Carnival Sunday – Tuesday, February 19 – 21, 2023.

  • All remaining days, culminating with Carnival Tuesday, feature inaugural parades with a huge number of troupes from 60 municipalities in the state of Tlaxcala.

During the carnival processions, seven main groups of stage characters stand out in particular:

  1. «Hueue» is an image decorated with a wooden mask with a man’s face, huge multicolored feathers, and brightly colored capes.
  2. «Catrinas» are traditional Mexican skeletons.
  3. «Cuadrilles» – presented in costumes made of giant feathers, resembling exotic birds.
  4. «Chivarrudos» – carrying a whip and a leather chuck and riding a wooden horse.
  5. «Knife dancers» – wear metal knives attached to their lower leg that jingle as they dance.
  6. «Charros» – the image consists of a white suit, leather boots, and a wide-brimmed hat decorated with ostrich feathers.
  7. «Nativitas» present costumes commemorating Victory Day at the Battle of Puebla, which is celebrated on May 5. The participants are dressed in white and carry poles with colorful ribbons.

The Tlaxcala Carnival is an authentic music festival that allows you to experience the traditions of the Mexican people and symbolizes the arrival of spring in the small but lively state of Tlaxcala.

Interesting facts and tips:

  • The most spectacular carnival party takes place in the capital of Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala de Chicotencatl. However, guests can attend any of the festivities in one of the cities in the state if they wish, since they are held everywhere at the same time.
  • The Tlaxcala Carnival is also a great opportunity to experience the traditional cuisine of Tlaxcala. There are many pavilions and booths with food and drinks in the city squares. Some of the most popular dishes to try include Tocatlan chicken cooked in tomato, chili and spice sauce, Mexican barbacoa – grilled barbecue, and mole de guajolote – turkey in a spicy sauce. The famous drink of Tlaxcala is pulque, which is made from fermented Agave juice.
  • The state of Tlaxcala is a fairly safe place, and in the cities where the festivities take place, the police are heavily involved. However, because the carnival is a crowded event, petty crime is not uncommon. So remember to follow the basic rules of security and leave all valuables in the hotel.