American citizens living Mexico don’t need to give up this beloved holiday. Keep reading for tips for how to celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico.
At first glance, Thanksgiving might seem like a wholly American holiday. But, Mexican culture has adopted this occasion & put its own spin on the rich tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico.
Whether you’re in search of ingredients for your Thanksgiving Day feast in Mexico or just curious about Mexican Thanksgiving traditions, think of this post as a cornucopia filled with everything you need to know about celebrating Thanksgiving in Mexico.
After reading this post, you will know the:
- History of Thanksgiving Day in Mexico
- How to find American citizens celebrating Thanksgiving in Mexico
- Where to purchase your Thanksgiving feast ingredients
- When Mexico has its Black Friday sales
- Recipes for a Mexican Thanksgiving Day meal
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Do people celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico?
Because the impact of the first Thanksgiving between Native Americans and early settlers was felt across North America, it’s not surprising really that many Mexicans not only know about but also choose to celebrate Acción de Gracias.
As in the United States, Thanksgiving celebrations in Mexico take place on the fourth Thursday of November.
Mexicans who have spent time in the United States have been known to embrace the rich traditions and opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. My own Tía Elvia is one of the native Mexicans who likes to celebrate this special occasion annually.
Over the years, Mexicans who choose to celebrate have developed their own Thanksgiving traditions.
For example, compared to the United States where just a short prayer of gratitude kicks off Thanksgiving feasts, Thanksgiving in Mexico is a much more religious holiday—a chance to thank God for the year’s blessings (not surprising in one of the world’s most Catholic countries).
Black Friday in Mexico
Almost just as celebrated as Thanksgiving itself, Black Friday shopping in the United State is a sacred holiday in its own right.
Rather than hitting the stores the day after Thanksgiving, in Mexico, shoppers score the best deals on Buen Fin (the Good Weekend).
This year (2022), Buen Fin in Mexico will begin on Friday, Nov. 18 and end on Monday, Nov. 21.
Plan your shopping accordingly!
Thanksgiving Feasts in Mexico
If you’re from the United States and want to connect with other US expats in Mexico to celebrate this American holiday, the best Thanksgiving Day celebrations in Mexico take place in cities with a large foreign community.
Thinks cities in Mexico like Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.
The easiest way to connect with other expats and see if a Thanksgiving feast is organized for your city in Mexico is to join expat Facebook group.
Just search the name of your city + “expats” or “foreigners.”
Where to Buy Ingredients for Thanksgiving Day in Mexico
When it comes to preparing your own Thanksgiving feasts in Mexico, some ingredients such as sweet potatoes are easy to find while others like cranberry sauce will likely be more challenging.
For the freshest ingredients, I suggest shopping at your local mercado (market).
You may need to organize ahead of time with one of the vendors to secure a Thanksgiving turkey. An easy-to-find last-minute alternative is roast pork.
While you’re at the market, consider picking up some regional flowers to decorate your vacation rental or home in Mexico. It’s a great alternative to fall leaves for making your space feel festive.
Another option for purchasing Thanksgiving feast ingredients (perhaps crust for your pumpkin pie) is the supermarket. My go-to is La Comer, but there are plenty of big grocery stores in Mexico to choose from: HEB, Soriana, Wal-Mart, Costco & Chedraui—just to name a few.
Most grocery stores in Mexico allow you to order online and have the items delivered straight to your door for a small fee. Read more about deliveries and online shopping in Mexico in this post.
Lastly, for more unique items such as cranberry sauce, check to see if your city has a shop dedicated to selling American specialty products. In Querétaro, we have The American Shop.
Unique Recipes for a Mexican Thanksgiving Meal
In case you decide that you want to give your Thanksgiving meal a Mexican twist, I’ve rounded up some unique recipe ideas that are sure to delight your guests:
I’m no chef, but I think it would be interesting to toss some spicy chipotle peppers or jalapeño peppers into your tradition green bean casserole!
Below you will find a list of traditional Thanksgiving ingredients translated into Spanish:
- Cranberry sauce – salsa de arándano
- Sweet potatoes – camotes
- Pumpkin pie – pastel de calabaza
- Green bean casserole – cazuela de judías verdes
- Roast pork – cerdo asado
- Thanksgiving turkey – pavo de Acción de Gracias
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Final Thoughts on Thanksgiving in Mexico
You don’t need to be located in the United Sates to have a happy Thanksgiving. If this will be your first time spending this time of the year in Mexico, lean into your Mexican Thanksgiving celebrations for a unique festive occasion.
This kind of celebration is perfect for giving thanks for your travels and life in Mexico. Think of it as a good time to share your culture with your friends in Mexico.