In Yucatán, every punishing heatwave brings a promise: the arrival of the rainy season. And with this, the countryside becomes more vibrant, the sound of birds singing is everywhere, and the temperatures on our thermostat begin to slightly descend – this last point is particularly appreciated! The season lasts from June to November, and though the first rainfalls revitalize the plant life of our state, they also slow things down considerably.
These showers typically occur on a daily basis during these months, and they are strong. Very strong. But they don’t usually last longer than a couple of hours. A little before 5 pm rolls around, the skies grow darker and you can hear the rolling of thunder at a distance, along with a shout of “Uay!” if the sound catches someone off guard. From that moment on, unless it is deemed strictly necessary, Yucatecans avoid going out, and prefer to wait until the storm passes.
With the water falling against windows and rooftops, many do what they can to keep busy. Most work indoors, catch up on chores, or watch television, but the truly lucky ones just relax in their hammock and kick the wall to rock themselves to sleep. But unfortunately, not everyone is afforded the luxury of staying in.
I have yet to meet an umbrella that can stand up to the torrential Yucatecan rains, so it’s best to not even try. For those who were left with no choice but to face the downpour, it’s much more common to see them walking barefoot, with shoes in hand while avoiding puddles, or simply hunched under awnings waiting for the clouds to pass. Every now and again, someone will come around with an umbrella, but a strong wind will eventually come to blow it inside out, and send them packing towards the already crowded awning.
After the rain passes, activities quickly resume. Puddles reflect the hazy afternoon light, mosquitoes seem to appear out of thin air, and the baker’s horn brings people out of their homes, and into the streets to pick out their favorite Pan Dulce.
While walking around Mérida’s traditional neighborhoods in the evening, you will see people sitting in rocking chairs on the sidewalks or terraces. It’s time to wind down, enjoy the balmy air, and share some snacks and the day’s news.
Although many traditions have changed with the passing of time, Yucatán’s relaxed pace always returns with the first rains of the season.
By Maggie Rosado.
Maggie is passionate about tourism, writing, and languages and holds a Master’s degree in Translation.
Photography courtesy of Valentin Müller via Unsplash for its use in Yucatán Today.
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