The tango “Balada para un loco” (A Ballad for a Crazy Person) comes in handy to describe the situation, so we will make an apocryphal version: “The Lucas de Galvez Market has this “what do I know air?” See?” And, as we say it, our chests fill up with great emotions. Today we are once again seeing this space as we remember it: intense, full of colors, textures and smells, so syncretic and so mine and yours, like ours because it doesn’t matter when you come from, it always receives you with open arms.
And, after so many months of the pandemic due to the new coronavirus, the Municipal Market Lucas de Galvez – located in the Historical Center of Merida – is now up and running 100 percent and with it just a few days before Day of the Dead or Hanal Pixan, it is stocked with the typical sugar skulls (now protected by plastic,) flowers, candles, corn dough for pib, banana leaves, espelon beans, spices and above all, there is happiness in the air as the people prepare to receive the souls of their departed loved ones. You will find social distancing everywhere, facemasks and all the health and hygiene protocols in place.
Going to the Lucas de Galvez now a day, fills us with joy and makes us realize that time did not pass in vain. As we wander through the aisles and nooks of the market with the living souls, we can smell the wonderful aroma of roasted cochinita pibil and lechon, and we can now order some tacos or tortas right there in the market. – we come to realize this will be a different Hanal Pixan. Gabriela, the lady who sells the various of the ingredients to make the delicious pib or mucbipollo, that we will savor for Day of the Dead, tells us why:
“This year there is no doubt we will have a different Hanal Pixan experience And, I don’t say this because of the pandemic. The tropical storms Amanda, Cristobal, Gamma, Zeta, and the Hurricane Delta destroyed the harvests and there is a scarcity of many of the ingredients that are used to make a pib such as banana leaves and the espelon beans. Of course, we will still have a pib on our tables just like every year, but I think this year we are going to value, appreciate and enjoy them more…” she tells us with her eyes full of emotion.
Like a large tamale pie full of pork, chicken, espelon beans and magical spices from this marvelous land, the pib or mucbilpollo, is lovingly wrapped in banana leaves and cooked slowly underground, like the ancient Maya did. This year there won’t be an Altar Festival nor the enormous productions of mucbilpollos that were prepared and shared at the Plaza Grande so everyone could have a taste.
However, we can rest assured without the fear of being wrong, that the souls of our departed loved ones will visit us and will enjoy the marvelous pib that with so much effort Mother Earth will give us. And, there will be lots of hugs and kisses from our departed loved ones and we won’t need facemasks nor social distancing.
Editorial by Cecilia García Olivieri
Writer and reporter
Photography by Cecilia García Olivieri for use in Yucatán Today
Read more about Markets and this time of the year:
- Markets – Today, Tomorrow, and Always
- Hanal Pixan – A Magical Time
- Yucatecan “Soul Food” for Hanal Pixán
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