Mérida, Yucatán — Should the Paseo de las Ánimas stretch all the way up to the Plaza Grande? City organizers are wondering.
The colorful Hanal Pixan procession has grown by leaps and bounds. For now, the entire celebration is confined to a stretch between the General Cemetery and the San Juan arch.
Extending the 20-block route by another three blocks will take tens of thousands of revelers to the main square.
The Day of the Dead street procession, which began in 2008 with about 5,000 participants — not a bad turnout.
But in the following years, it caught on, especially with young people who enjoy the morbid Dia de los Muertos symbolism. Attendance jumped to 12,000, then 40,000, and then in 2016, 50,000 people, said Jose Luis Martinez Semerena, a city councilman.
No one knows how many people will arrive this year, because there’s no registration mechanism — participants just show up. But judging by queries from other states and even other countries, Paseo de las Ánimas 2017 is likely to be huge.
The councilman said that residents in the adjacent neighborhood of San Sebastián have approached the city to also be included in the evening’s night.
Along the path, bands play music and hundreds of altars are built by families, community councils, civil and academic organizations.