Celebrating Day of the Dead in Yucatan

Live the mysticism

at the Festival of Live and Death Traditions

Day of the Dead traditions in Mexico is worldwide recognized for its authenticity and unique festive environment. Dead represents another stage of life out of this world since prehispanic times. These beliefs were mixed with Catholic traditions,giving as a result, one of the most iconic celebrations in the country.  

Photo by bioedge.com

The deceased come to visit us, they leave behind the afterlife for a couple of days to enjoy their favorite food and to visit their friends and family. Everyone sets up altars with flowers, candles, and food. Costumes changes in some specific things depending on which part of Mexico you are. Yucatan highlights the fusion of prehispanic cultures and Catholic beliefs in a unique way. The Mayan culture is present and preserved in almost all the territory of the Peninsula. Its proud inhabitants transmit its traditions generation by generation.

Welcoming our loved ones who have passed away

In Yucatan, the holiday is known by a Mayan name which means “Comida de las ánimas” or meal for the souls, Hanal Pixan. Every house must be well cleaned, clothes and furniture too. The dead ones are about to arrive, and they don’t like dust. If they don’t find everything organized, they can clean the house themselves or not enter at all. Everything starts on October 31st. This day is dedicated to the little ones. An altar must be prepared with a white tablecloth, fruit, traditional candies, desserts, and toys.

Houses and altars are decorated with xpujuc and xtes flowers.

Hanal Pixan festivities last all the month

On November the 1st and 2nd the altars are dedicated to the grown-ups. Candles must be white, and the favorite food of the deceased is prepared and served next to their photos. You can also find alcoholic beverage like tequila, mezcal or beer. Water and salt are present to purify the altar. The souls have the chance to eat the food with all their families one more time. The scent of all this traditional food is what feeds them. Once the dead ones are fulfilled, the family is allowed to eat the food on the next day.

Yucatan day of the dead traditions

Formerly the deceased were buried in the backyards of the houses.

Read more about the Mayan culture and dead: The Xibalba, mysteries of the Mayan underworld.

About the food in the Hanal Pixán

Ancient Mayans used to put corn kernels in the mouth of the dead ones so that they will not be hungry during their journey to the underworld.

If you hadn’t visited Yucatan, you must know that the gastronomy is a topic of complicated history. Because it preserves a lot of Mayan elements. To celebrate life and death a particular dish is prepared as an important family moment due to its complexity. We are talking about the mucbipollo or just called Pib. It is a pork and chicken stew pot pie. Cooked with a corn dough (similar to tamales), with axiote, epazote, xpelón and other species. Wrapped in banana tree leaves. The secret of this delicious food consists in that it has to be buried in a pit with fire above it.

Yucatan day of the dead traditions

Incense and copal fragrances will guide the dead back to their towns. Families attend the cemetery to bring flowers and celebrate religious masses. Yucatan is a land full of traditions and warm people. During the days of the Traditions of Life and Dead Festival, we will witness the beauty and authenticity of Hanal Pixan.

If you want to know more about this topic: Guide to understanding the Day of the Dead

Have you ever been in a “Día de Muertos” celebration?

David de la Garza
Marketing designer who loves skateboarding and playing soccer, always looking for good music to listen.