Mérida is renowned for organizing countless events and festivities dedicated to preserving the traditions of our Maya culture and ensuring a lasting heritage for the generations to come.
As part of these activities, Ayuntamiento de Mérida is all set to kick off the vibrant Festival de las Ánimas 2023 (the Festival of Souls), an event that seeks to honor the memory of the faithful departed. This grand celebration illuminates the rich tapestry of Maya culture, embracing oral tales, folkloric dances, and culinary traditions, promoting community spirit in the municipality.
The festival will take place from October 24 to November 2, kicking off with the opening of a photo exhibition titled “Uk’iinil Finados” (Days of the Departed, in Maya) by artist Alejandro Poot “Chelón” at Centro Cultural Olimpo, capturing the essence of our Yucatecan traditions through images.
The General Cemetery will open its doors to present a cultural tour of the mausoleums, allowing visitors to discover the history of the deceased and the many anecdotes and legends that are told.
The Festival of Souls will also feature the “Rodada de las Ánimas” (Souls’ Ride) an event organized by Cicloturixes, inviting you to bike through the streets of Centro to the General Cemetery. This initiative aims to advocate for bicycle usage and show respect to those who opt for this form of transportation.
The Plaza Grande will host the Monumental Altar, spanning over 45 ft, symbolizing how Yucatecan families honor their deceased loved ones. On November 1 and 2, the altar will receive offerings from any citizen or visitor who does not have an altar for their loved ones.
One of the most significant and highlighted events of the Janal Pixan celebrations is the traditional “Paseo de las Ánimas” (Stroll of the Souls), scheduled for Friday, October 27. To kick off the event, Mayor Renán Barrera will symbolically grant permission for the souls from the underworld to visit the altars of their relatives in the earthly realm.
The Stroll of the Souls stands out as a procession of over 500 “souls” from the General Cemetery to San Juan Park. Attendees can savor regional food and sweets, traditional altars, and artistic performances in various parks and neighborhoods along the route.
Similarly, the Pixan Peek’ event is back for the second time, with a focus on encouraging pet adoption, care, and training. This event will showcase beautifully crafted altars and host an exciting pet costume contest.
The Festival will also feature the ancient Maya ballgame “Pok Ta Pok” at Plaza Grande, as well as the vibrant Catrina Parade, a wonderful fusion of traditions from various states of México. The parade will conclude at Paseo de Montejo, to turn into the Night of Catrinas, an enchanting display of Mexican cultural displays.
The sixth edition of the Mukbilpollo Fair will take place at the San Sebastián park in Centro, where we can delight our taste buds with various Pibes and witness the representation of the burial and unearthing of the Mukbilpollo or Pib.
In addition, there will be two shows at various points in the city: the musical “Coco” and the contemporary circus “Leyendas del Mayab” (Legends of the Mayab), which will transport us to the world and characters of the Maya worldview.
Furthermore, at the lower level of Palacio Municipal, the Traditional Vaquería will be held on Monday, where the souls or Pixanes of the deceased who visit us during this time will dance to the rhythm of Yucatecan Jarana.
The complete schedule with venues, dates, and times, as well as a description of each event, can be consulted from October 6 onwards at www.merida.gob.mx/animas
Photography by H. Ayuntamiento de Mérida for its use in Yucatán Today
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