Mérida, Yucatán — Police estimate just over 50,000 people turned out for the city’s Paseo de las Ánimas, many of them in costumes and face paint invoking Day of the Dead traditions.
That’s 10,000 more people than attend last year’s crush of activity, crowding the 20 blocks on Calle 66 between the general cemetery and the San Juan Arch.
Along the path, more than 230 altars were built by families, community councils, civil and academic organizations.
Since 2008, when the city introduced the “Procession of the Souls,” the event has been embraced by millennials who enjoy the imagery associated with the increasingly mainstream Dia de los Muertos.
The blow-out event is the high point of an entire festival that precedes Hanal Pixán, the local variant on Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations. Music concerts and street performers entertained onlookers, many of whom stayed planted on bleachers, which were provided for the first time this year.
Hanal Pixán begins officially on Monday, Oct. 31 and lasts until Nov. 2. The tradition was once confined to private homes, but the city has been successful bringing the ritual out into the open. Altars in memory of departed loved ones now appear in parks and public spaces throughout the city.
On social media, some of the best photos taken last night were posted: