For Mexicans who profess the Catholic faith, Lent—also referred to a Cuaresma, which comes from the word cuarenta, meaning “40”—is one of the most important annual holidays to observe. Lasting 40 days and nights, excluding the sixth Sunday, Lent is a time of reflection, penance, thankfulness and kindness. It’s also a time of penitence, with many giving up meat on Fridays, and indulging in fish and other seafood dishes in honor of their faith instead.
The week before Lent is Carnival, which is also known as Mardi Gras. Carnival includes celebrations, fiestas, parades, music, fireworks and pageantry to celebrate before Lent’s strict observance period.
The sixth and final Friday of Cuaresma is known as “Viernes de Dolores,” or “Friday of Sorrows,” which is a day dedicated to the Virgin Mary.