Hanal Pixán in Yucatán is considered one of the most distinctive times of the year. During this Maya festivity, we’re accustomed to celebrating big time. We love participating in the Paseo de Ánimas, touring the cemetery, having altar competitions…and don’t even get me started on the Pib Festival. During these days, the streets are lively (I’m aware of the irony) and people are happy to honor their loved ones, paint their faces, and relish in the state’s delicious cuisine.
This year, like many of our favorite events, Hanal Pixán will be different. But that’s no reason to stop experiencing the culture of the state in all its glory!
Death has always been a part of the history of mankind. From the world’s very origins, explaining it and trying to give it meaning has terrorized humans. The Maya conceived time in a cyclical way, tied to a universal space where time flows infinitely. This is made up of the Earth, 13 celestial planes above, and nine underworlds below. In the center is the Ceiba, the Ya’axché – a sacred tree that unites all spaces. This is where human cycles connect with the divine sequences that decide their fates. The Maya worldview is still present and seen in parties, rituals, and architecture.
The Pixán – the gods’ gift to humans when they are born – is a fluid that indicates the energy of a particular person, it is their strength, and accompanies them into the underworld. It is said that souls walk along snake-like paths that hold the worlds of the living, the dead, and the gods together.
According to this festivity, from October 31 to November 2, the souls of the deceased get permission to come back home and visit their loved ones. Like with any special visit, we have to prepare for their arrival. The house has to be immaculate; a special place is assigned in every home for the altar which is decorated with family photos, Xpujuc and Xtés flowers, candles, new tablecloths, food, and drinks. The traditional Mucbipollo is a must during the celebration. On page 35, Ralf describes everything about this dish that Yucatecans look forward to each year. After you taste it, you’ll understand why. Order one from a local business, they’ll appreciate it!
In Yucatecan culture, death is like our traveling companion. The magical thing about this tradition is that it creates a bond between the living and the dead. It’s a way to remember those that are no longer with us, leave them a bit of their favorite foods, spend time with family, and maintain our culture more alive than ever.
Editorial por Greta Garrett
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