“Now it smells like pib!” – spoken by Yucatecans

Our quotation this month is the phrase you will hear on the streets and in the homes of Yucatecans around the end of October. It refers to the delicious aroma of the traditional food served around the time of the Day of the Dead: made with corn dough, shredded meat, and local herbs and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and baked underground. Read about it here, and be sure to try some. It’s delicious!

Although I was born in México, I lived most of my life in the US and Canada, where Hallowe’en is the main event celebrated on October 31. And while there is certainly a connection between the two holidays, the Day of the Dead is more comprehensive, as it is dedicated to remembering the dearly departed, with special significance on October 31, November 1, and November 2. After almost 14 years living in Yucatán, I have become accustomed to, and a huge fan of, “Hanal Pixán” which is the Yucatecan version of this very Mexican holiday.

There are several places in this edition where you can read about traditions connected with Hanal Pixán: our cover story is all about the Festival de las Ánimas, with events taking place during the last week of October, and culminating with our beloved Paseo de las Ánimas (the passage of the souls).

You can learn all about the “aluxes,” mischievous elves or spirits known to Yucatecans all over the state. They are present all year round, not just at this time of the year, but we felt this was the perfect moment to tell you about them.

Also read about the colonial town of Hoctún, 45 km from Mérida, with special emphasis on the residents’ gravesite visits and decorations of their loved ones’ graves.

We hope you enjoy this edition; be sure to keep it handy as a reference as you travel around the state. And let your sense of smell guide you when you hear these words: “¡Ya huele a pib!”

Juanita Stein
[email protected]

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