Traditional bone cleaning, or Choo Ba’ak, as it is known in the town of Pomuch in the Mexican state of Campeche dates back to the time of the Maya.
To the eyes of outsiders, this tradition may seem macabre, but for the people of Pomuch, it is a way to reconnect with their dearly departed and celebrate their ancient ancestry.
This ritual, which in Mayan is known as Choo Ba’ak, can be done after a person has been dead for three years.
The cleaning of the bones is done with great care, as they become more and more brittle over time.
Once cleaned, the bones are placed in special boxes, often decorated with embroidered patterns and the name of the individuals there contained or their family name.
Viewing remains of the dead can seem rather extreme to some, but one would be wise to withhold judgment without understanding its full cultural context.