Preparations are underway for this year's historic El Cedral Festival, which will be held in Cozumel from April 28 to May 3, 2014.

The revelry will include rodeos, bullfights, music, dancing, horse racing, roast meat feasts and more, all based at the old village of El Cedral in the island's south.

 

This annual local event is thought to be over 160 years old and was started by an early settler to the island who was fleeing war on the mainland.

With the official title of the Festival of El Cedral and the Fiestas of Santa Cruz, the celebrations are open to locals and visitors alike.

Traditional dress
Islanders dress in traditional clothing.

The tradition was first established by Casimiro Cárdenas, one of a band that fled to the island during the War of the Castes after seeing many of his companions killed in a vicious attack on his village of Saban on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Running from the slaughter, Cárdenas is said to have escaped to Cozumel whilst clutching a small wooden cross.

Dance and music
Historical dances and music.

Legend has it that Cárdenas vowed to honor the crucifix's religious strength by founding an annual festival wherever he settled.

From this came part of the official name of today's celebrations - the Fiestas of Santa Cruz - or Festival of the Holy Cross.

Horse racing and rodeos
Horse racing and rodeos.

One account also says that the inaugural festival was the first time Catholic mass was held on the island.

Comedy and performances
Comedy plays and other performances.

Nowadays, rowdy revellers enjoy traditional Yucatecan and Mexican feasts and parties, as well as music, dancing, competitions, rodeos, bullfights and plenty of ice cold Mexican beer.

And, if you find yourself in Cozumel at the end of April, you too can be part of the excitement.

Just make your way down to El Cedral, many events are free and everyone is welcome to join in the fun!

See our Google+ El Cedral Album for more photos or visit our Tourist Information section for more Cozumel Events.

Photos courtesy of Cozumel Municipal Government.

You can also see the town of El Cedral at any time on the following excursions:

Cozumel Dune Buggy Tour.

Cozumel Jeep Tour.

Cozumel ATV Tour.

ATV Jungle Snorkel Combo.

Xrail Jungle Buggy Madness.