The city of Mérida is internationally renowned as one of the most creative cities and stands out for celebrating cultural events that seek to keep alive the traditions that come from our ancestors’ worldview.
As part of these activities, which also build social cohesiveness and healthy entertainment in the municipality, Ayuntamiento de Mérida (the Mayor’s Office) is organizing the now traditional “Festival de las Ánimas 2022” (the 2022 Festival of Souls). This event aims to honor the memory of the deceased through different activities that highlight the traditions of the Maya people, whether they’re about customs, folklore, or cuisine.
The festival begins on October 24 and will end on November 2 with a photography exhibition that will display snapshots of Yucatecan traditions.
Throughout the week we’ll also see activities like mystery tales of the Maya underworld. The General Cemetery will open its doors for a historical and cultural tour of the mausoleums, going over their history and some anecdotes that have taken place in the city’s cemeteries.
We’ll also have the “Rodada de las Ánimas con los Cicloturixes (the souls’ bike tour with Cicloturixes), to cycle down Centro’s streets all the way to the Cemetery, to also promote the use of bicycle and the rights of those who use it as a means of transportation.
At Plaza Grande, a 14-meter wide Monumental Altar will be set up to showcase the way that Yucatecan families honor their deceased.
On Friday, October 28, we’ll have the now traditional “Paseo de las Ánimas,” which has become one of the most important and noteworthy Janal Pixan celebrations. In the parade, which begins at the General Cemetery and ends at Parque de San Juan, more than 500 “souls” will be dressed up in regional garb and carrying candles, and there will be booths selling traditional food and candy, in addition to art performances throughout the way. For the first time, there’ll be a special pet-friendly event, where dog adoption and care will be encouraged.
On Saturday, in addition to the performance of the Pok Ta Pok or traditional Maya ball game, we’ll have the Catrina Parade all the way up to El Remate de Paseo de Montejo; there, the yearly Noche de Catrinas will be held. Noche de Catrinas is a very special celebration of Mexican culture featuring the figure of the Catrina, the dressed-up skeleton representing life after death.
On Sunday, October 30, treat your palate to the Fifth Annual Feria del Mucbilpollo, held at the San Sebastián softball field.
On Monday, the weekly Vaquería becomes a stage for the souls or Pixanes of the deceased, believed to be visiting during those days, and who will be dancing to the beat of Yucatecan folklore by the Palacio Municipal arches.
By H. Ayuntamiento de Mérida
Photography by Cassie Pearse and Anna Karen Rivero for use in Yucatán Today.
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