Friday, June 21, 2024

In Mérida, Day of the Dead festival celebrates Maya Hanal Pixán traditions

For the first time since 2019, Mérida is hosting in-person festivities to celebrate Hanal Pixán, a Maya tradition to commemorate the dead. The Festival de las Ánimas, or Festival of Souls, started on Monday and will run through Nov. 2.

Hanal Pixán, which means “food for the souls,” is an ancient Maya tradition celebrated only in the Yucatán peninsula. Participants offer traditional foods to the deceased, who are believed to visit their loved ones from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. The first day is dedicated to honoring children who have passed away, while the second day is dedicated to adults. On the third day, a mass is traditionally held for all the deceased.

Activities for the 2022 festival range from displays of altars to parades, exhibitions, and culinary samples. The famous Paseo de las Ánimas (Parade of the Souls), in which adults, youth, and children dress up as deceased in the typical Yucatecan costume, is set to happen on Friday, starting at the General Cemetery and finishing at the Arch of San Juan.

A parade of catrinas, José Guadalupe Posada’s famous figure which has come to characterize Día de los Muertos, will take place on Saturday night. And the fifth edition of the Mucbipollo Festival, dedicated to the Maya dish also known as pibipollo, will take place the following day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the softball court in the neighborhood of San Sebastián.

Catrinas on parade in Mérida.
Catrinas on parade in Mérida. Facebook / Festival de las Ánimas, Mérida, Yucatán

The first edition of Pixan Peek will also be held at the festival. Announced by the local government on Oct. 19, the event will be held in honor of deceased dogs. A showing of altars, a dog training exhibition, and a costume parade will be held on Friday evening to promote adoption and humane treatment of animals.

Finally, a giant altar will be set up in Plaza Grande, Mérida’s main square, to honor local authorities who have passed away.

With reports from AD Magazine and Por Esto

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