A big comeback for Paseo de las Ánimas in 2022

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our best stories will appear in your inbox every Monday.
Mérida’s Paseo de las Ánimas is a delight for children. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

Some 50,000 people participated Friday in the Paseo de las Ánimas, a pre-Hispanic tradition of the Mayan people that is being kept alive in Mérida thanks to local families.

(Video: See our unique take on 2022’s Paseo de las Ánimas)

One participant told a European news agency that “It is a tradition that will never die since parents involve their children and youngsters who gladly wear the Yucatecan regional costume with their faces painted like skulls. 

Mérida’s Paseo de las Ánimas is a delight for children. At La Ermita, food vendors capture the attention of a young customer. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

He said that people joyfully welcome the spirits of their departed loved ones. 

The Paseo de las Ánimas resumed in 2022 after two years of pandemic lockdowns. People come from all over the country to be part of it. English, German and French could be heard being spoken among the dominant Spanish. 

Hours before the procession of souls, Mérida’s parade route is already active with families and their altars for Paseo de las Ánimas. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

The mayor of the city, Renán Barrera Concha, lead around 500 costumed souls, who remained in character in what’s now a famous procession in a 13-block route that leads from Mérida’s general cemetery to a park in the San Juan neighborhood. 

They said that the Paseo de las Ánimas broke attendance records. An estimated 50,000 people crowded the streets to take part. There were 232 altars along multiple city blocks. 

Locals get their faces painted in accordance with Day of the Dead tradition in Mérida. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

The blow-out event began in 2008 and is the high point of an entire festival that precedes Hanal Pixán, the local variant of Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations.

Earlier: Here’s when the Paseo de las Ánimas went international

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