The traditional observance calls for departed children to be remembered October 31, the Day of the Little Angels, or Día de los Angelitos, and for adults to be remembered on November 1st, All Saints Day. November 2nd is for all the souls, and is called All Souls Day, or Día de los Fieles Difuntos.
The Day of the Dead provides a special motive for the Maya women to display a vast variety of dishes which are presented on an altar where other items such as toys are displayed; adornments of flowers (mainly cempazúchitl), which symbolize the north and south in the world of the living; black wax candles made in Ticul, for the purpose of calling forth the departed, with aroma of rue and basil; and pottery from Maxcanú, Uayma and Mama, such as cups, and plates, which form an integral part of the scenery of this ceremony.
How to Assemble your Altar
The altar is covered with a white tablecloth; there are also seven jicaras (gourds) with different beverages; four represent the boys in the four corners of the fields, and three represent the girls who work around the comal (tortilla griddle); these recipients contain chocolate, corn or flour atole, and water (purifying element); accompanied by bread, fruits, and sweets. The banquet consists of a variety of delicious dishes, such as relleno negro, escabeche, and the pibes or Mukbilpollos.
On the eve of the celebration, in the center above the altar, a green wooden cross is placed, which represents the Yaxché (the Ceiba tree, which in Maya worldview symbolizes the universe and its division into three levels), as well as a picture of the Virgin del Carmen, patron of purgatory, as elements which express the fusion of the Maya and Spanish cultures.
The offerings are withdrawn after the ceremony to be consumed and shared with family and friends. In the days of the dead in Yucatan, the absent are remembered, with ceremonies that reveal the profound Maya worldview, and are a motive for reflection for scholars, but also for the pleasure of the living…and their tummies!
The List for the Altar
- A green wooden cross
- White tablecloth
- Candles, colored for the children and white for the adults
- Photographs for the deceased
- Seven jicaras (gourds) with different beverages; four represent the boys in the four corners of the fields, and three represent the girls who work around the comal (tortilla griddle); these recipients contain chocolate, corn or flour atole, and water (purifying element)
- Bread, fruits, and sweets
- Whatever elements and foods the deceased liked when alive
Casa de las Artesanías de Yucatán
Calle 63 64 y 66, Centro
(next to Monjas church)
Read more about Día de Muertos and Janal Pixan:
- Festival de las Ánimas in Yucatán
- An Awaited Celebration: Janal Pixan
- Day of the Dead in Yucatán
- Pib Season
- ¡Ya Huele a Pib! (it smells like Pib!)
See here a little bit of what Día de Muertos is all about:
Get to know one of the most and beautiful traditions in Campeche:
A film by Pegasus Family
Written & directed by Oliver Kyr
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