Ánimas procession attracts an estimated 57,000 people

Traditional costumes honor Yucatán's Hanal Pixan heritage. Photo: Ayuntamiento
City officials lead off a 20-block procession in 2017’s Paseo de las Ánimas. Photo: Ayuntamiento

Mérida, Yucatán — Organizers of this  year’s Paseo de las Ánimas estimate about 57,000 people took to the streets, in a highlight of the city’s Day of the Dead festivities.

If the crowd count is accurate, that’s about 7,000 more people than last year. The event has come to draw visitors from around Mexico, and some from other countries.

“We are very proud of our traditions and roots,” said Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal, who added that the event as “crossed borders” and honors Yucatecan identity on a “world level.”

Traditional costumes honor Yucatán’s Hanal Pixan heritage. Photo: Ayuntamiento

Now in its ninth year, the procession runs 20 blocks, basically between the general cemetery and the San Juan Arch. Organizers are considering one day extending the parade another three blocks north to reach the Plaza Grande.

People of all ages paraded slowly, many with face paint and dressed in traditional Yucatecan huipiles and guayaberas, with candles and flowers in hand.

Hundreds of altars honor the spirits of deceased loved ones along the Paseo de las Ánimas route. Photo: Ayuntamiento

Others dressed in conventional Halloween costumes, as pirates or clowns, for example.

The parade began with a Mayan ceremony, with the mayor and other city officials leading the walk north up Calle 66.

In addition to 248 Hanal Pixan altars, the route included a demonstration of the Mayan ball game Pok ta Pok as well as pre-Hispanic and folk music concerts at San Juan park.

Lee Steele

Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012.