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Food For You Animate Them

preparation of the food

In the Yucatan the Mayan people celebrate October 31 with El Hanal Pixan, comida de las animas.

In the zocalo yesterday morning makeshift huts of tree limbs and palm fronds were erected alongside cardboard walls and wells evocative of stage scenery. I noticed miniature windmills and other wells constructed in stone. It was olfactory, vivid, and beat-driven. I walked into the crowd and followed the drums to these guys.

Copal incense was burning and I was half transported, thinking of childhood church, a field trip to Plymouth Village, summer music shows. I did my best to stay in the moment. I started investigating the shrines. Shrine is not the mot juste. Yes, there are photographs of the dead loved ones, offerings of food, candles, crosses made of sand or flour and dotted at the intersection with an intact egg. Families reading or saying the rosary in unison. More like a shelter. An alter in a club house, a meeting place where the deceased can take a break and have a snack.

Young and old women wearing huipiles sat and ground masa, crafting and cooking tortillas on a stone over fire. I wondered if the girls were happy to wear traditional clothes; some seemed dress for performance while others appeared comfortable barefoot, smiling but solemn, kneeling and reciting and making a gift of their respect.

I did come across two costumed figures who looked like Day of the Dead miniatures come to life. But this is distinctly different, Mayan, Catholic. Here was a subdued circus fair atmosphere in which a select group were enacting private rituals in a public space. I was happy and humble to be there.

Later, Malcolm and I carved our pumpkin, Juan, cousin to Pedro the Plastic Penguin. I thought about other Halloweens in New England with its witches and ghosts. I felt like I understood the feast.

beautiful, playing sort of eclectic world indigenous music


a goat

Rooster Whisperer

she sees you



I was distracted by these boys, whose break-dancing was funnily freakish and unsponsored, free


still life with cantaloupe

There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. We knew you’d get there on time (unlike us) and get some great photos (we might have too….haven’t had time to look at them yet!) Thanks for sharing a new look at an old tradition.

  2. Thank You! for the post about the happenings. It is an experience I will always associate with being new in Merida and feeling so enthralled.

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