Hanal Pixan – a Mayan celebration for the Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead - Xcaret Day of the Dead – Xcaret

Hanal Pixan, an ancient Mayan tradition, otherwise known as ‘supper of the souls’ has been celebrated in Mexico since Prehispanic times.  Mexicans remember those who have passed away and believe they come back to be with their loved ones on these days.  Each region has a different way of praising their ancestors through rituals and ceremonies.  The ceremonies combine Mayan and Christian elements, offering food and beverage to their loved ones to remember them and make them feel alive once again.

November 1st is dedicated to the children’s souls and the altars are filled with toys, sweets, chocolates, honey, fruits and vegetables topped with salt, lemon and chilli for the deceased children.  November 2nd is devoted to the souls of adults, and the departed’s favorite things are put on the altar, such as stews and drinks as well as cigarettes and cigars.  The traditional food and drink for the Day of the Dead celebrations is Mucbilpollo, meaning food is that is baked in the ground in Maya, and Balché, which is a spiritual beverage made of Mayan tree bark.

A week later, Mexicans celebrate the day when the visiting souls say goodbye to their relatives and leave this world. For that reason, people place candles in their homes for souls to be able to find their way back. This custom is locally known as the Bix.

This is a beautiful celebration of the lives of your loved ones which we would recommend you experience at least once in your lifetime – especially if you are on vacation in Cancun.


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