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Cozumel Carnival: 140 years of tradition

Entertainment 10/10/2023
candidates for Carnival Kings
The Carnival of Cozumel is a very special festivity that takes place in the island of San Miguel de Cozumel belonging to the state of Quintana Roo. And thanks to its more than 140 years of history, it is considered one of the most famous carnivals in Mexico and even in the Caribbean area. Visit this incredible island at the best time of the year with Grand Park Royal Cozumel and be part of this special party.

After its last edition that began on February 15, 2023, the island is already looking forward to the next occasion in which to take out its costumes and enjoy one more year the most anticipated event on the island each year.

Duration and celebration of the carnival

The carnival is made up of two stages that last 1 month together: the Pre-carnaval that takes place the 4 weekends prior to the celebration of the big festival and the Carnival that lasts 1 week.


In this first stage of Pre-carnival is when the candidates for the different titles of kings of the carnival are presented and finally the winners are chosen before the beginning of the second stage.

  • Weekend 1: All candidates for all titles are presented.

  • Weekend 2: Presentation of candidates for Carnival King by individual costume.

  • Weekend 3: Election of Carnival Kings with their troupes.

  • Weekend 4: Election of Youth Kings, Children's Kings and Diversity Kings.

Cozumel Carnival in ancient times

The Carnival

It is now, after the election of the different Kings of Carnival, when the second and main stage of this festivity begins, the celebration of the carnival.

  • First night of the Carnival: This first night is recognized as youth night because children of all ages present the troupes that they have been preparing all this time leading up to the carnival.

  • Second night of the Carnival: The second night is known as “Friday of Comparsas” and it is when schoolmates, co-workers or groups of friends present their comparsas, discovering incredible costumes and choreographies.

  • Third night of the Carnival: It is the first day of the next four in which both the participants and the attendees of the carnival take to the streets to dance and celebrate. Also on this day begins the parade of floats that pass through the streets until nightfall when the first dance of the carnival takes place where a renowned artist usually enlivens the party.

  • carnival floats

  • Fourth night of the Carnival: The fourth night begins the second parade of floats through the streets and the second dance of the Carnival.

  • Fifth night of the carnival: The fifth date offers us the third dance of the carnival but, in this case, there is no float parade.

  • Sixth night of the Carnival: The last and third parade of allegorical floats and the last dance with another free open-air concert take place.

  • Ash Wednesday: On this important date, every year the Cozumel Carnival concludes with the “Burning of Juan Carnaval”.

The Burning of Juan Carnaval

This tradition has been celebrated as the conclusion of the holiday for generations, and although we do not know when it was first implemented in Carnival, we do know that the first references appear in newspapers from the 19th century.

This ritual begins with the parade of the "Juan Carnaval" puppet through the streets of Cozumel followed by people dressed in dominoes emulating the executioners and some women dressed in mourning as they mourn the "death of humor" as Juan's widows until the next year.

After the parade of the doll through the streets comes the reading of the will that will later give way to the "Burning of Juan Carnaval" when it is set on fire and the climax of the most important festival in the town of Cozumel ends.

burning of Juan Carnaval

What makes Cozumel Carnival so special?

The natives of Cozumel are practically born with this tradition of carnival surrounding everything in its path and for them it is part of both their identity and their cultural heritage.

Each and every one of the locals participates in the festivity in some way, no matter what their age or place in the family everyone must participate because that is how they were raised. Some make unique costumes for the participants, others help in the construction of stages, others prepare incredible choreographies for the enjoyment of all... The point is to be part of such an important and special date for them and contribute in some way to the most important celebration. for the cozumeleños.

This great party is made by everyone and for everyone, giving color to the island and stoking the emotions of the people so that an unforgettable edition is experienced again every year.
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