75.2 F
Mérida
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
###

A primer on Hanal Pixán

Latest headlines

New benches at ancient archaeological site anger Izamal residents

Modern slab benches detract from an ancient ruin at Izamal, neighbors say. Photo: Courtesy Modern-looking benches installed at...

Being a good neighbor to Yucatán’s roof cats and street dogs

Illustration: Juan Pablo Quintal García Cats replaced people as my friends soon after quarantine 2020 began. 

What my rescue dogs taught me

I thought I knew a lot about dogs until I took in two rescues. I was wrong....

Bus full of construction workers catches fire in Mérida’s north

A bus went up in flames just before 8 this morning in Mérida’s Francisco de Montejo neighborhood.
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 top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.

Hundreds of altars honor the spirits of deceased loved ones for Hanal Pixán. Photo: Ayuntamiento


Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is one of the most iconic celebrations in Mexico. But it’s done differently in Yucatán, where Mayan traditions been held more closely than in the rest of the country.

In the Yucatán, families merge indigenous traditions and Catholic beliefs.

In Yucatán, we call this period Hanal Pixán, meaning “meal for the souls.” Private events start at on Oct. 31, although public ceremonies might be timed for weekends.

A traditional altar of Hanal Pixán.


Everything in each house must be cleaned for the dead loved ones who are going to arrive — the dead don’t like dust. Altars are prepared with white tablecloths, desserts and toys for the little ones.

On Nov. 1 and 2, the altars transition for the adults who have passed away. The favorite foods of the deceased are prepared and placed on the altar, along with alcoholic beverages.

A particular dish called mucbipollo or pib is served. The uninitiated may think of this as a pork and chicken stew pot pie, but it’s closer to a large tamale, cooked with a corn dough, mixed with a handful of spices and wrapped in banana tree leaves.

Families gather together at the cemeteries, bringing flowers and have religious masses. In some cemeteries, families prepare ahead of time by painting the tombs and headstones of their loved ones.

- Advertisement -

Subscribe Now!

More articles

600 acres expropriated in Quintana Roo for new Mayan Train route

Mexico has seized 198 lots of land in Quintana Roo along phase 5 of the Mayan Train's path.

Omicron strain now dominant in Yucatán

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 now appears to be the most common form of the virus in Yucatán.

Exploring Tazumal and Casa Blanca in Western El Salvador

Though part of the Mayan world, archaeological sites in El Salvador have largely remained unvisited by all but the most avid adventurers. But this tiny country boasts several interesting sites full of unique features and blends of cultural traditions. 

Mérida slated to build nearly 100 new highrise towers

Housing and business developments in Mérida have historically been fairly “close to the ground,” but that seems to be changing.

Yucatán’s COVID hospitalizations begin to creep up

Over 3,000 new coronavirus infections were reported this week in Yucatán. On Sunday alone, 652 new cases were detected, and that's likely...

‘Angels’ spreads its wings to the Yucatán Country Club gallery

The "Angels" exhibit has expanded into the exclusive Yucatán Country Club gallery, on view by appointment. Photo: Courtesy

Yucatán wakes up to a cold and windy ‘Mukul’

Mark Callum, a Mérida resident originally from England, helped this Chevy's owner move a huge branch behind the Paseo de Montejo...

Mérida Fest to go forward despite COVID-19 surge

The Ayuntamiento has confirmed that in-person events scheduled for Mérida Fest 2022 will continue as planned.

Building in Yucatán to get even more expensive in 2022

Over the past several years, construction costs in Yucatán have risen sharply and all signs point to even higher prices in 2022..

Yucatán’s top 8 street junk food favorites

Walking through virtually any city or town in Yucatán a wide range of food vendors can be seen peddling goodies out of push carts, mobile stands, food trucks, and just about every other configuration you can think of.