How to celebrate the Hanal Pixán?
The first day, October 31, is the Hanal Palal, the Children’s Day; It is dedicated to the souls of those who never went on to become adults. The second day, November 1, is dedicated to adults and is named “U Hanal Nucuch Uinicoob” The third day is the U Hanal Pixanoob or Pixán mass, because that day is held a Mass for the souls in the cemetery every Yucatecan population. It is customary during the festivities that children wear a red or black ribbon on his right wrist, so that the spirits do not take them and usually also for tethering animals that do not impede souls approach the altar.
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The altar is illuminated with candles, placed under the trees in the courtyard or near the graves … the table is full of food to entertain the beloved visitors … new atole, Pibes or mucbipollos, is preparing a “Xec” the mixture of orange, tangerine, and other fruits with chili, papaya, coconut and seed, tamales, x’pelón, an intoxicating drink called Balché whose main ingredient is the bark of the same name, sweet bread and Tan-Chucua a gruel made with corn, cacao, pepper and anise flowers … with its particular orange and rough branches adorn the altar; photographs of the deceased tell our dead that we have not forgotten.
The day of Hanal Palal the altar is decorated with a cheerful and colorful embroidered tablecloth, in this there are toys and candies, is the day dedicated to the souls of children, Xpujuc flowers are yellow, red Xté flowers and Virginias.
When the souls of loved ones “have taken the grace” living celebrate, eat the highly anticipated “Pib” or mucbipollo and pibinales, and drink the atole and balché…
The food of the souls and the bread of the dead
The mucbipollo or pib is a big baked tamale, the mass of which is made of corn and butter is, is filled with chicken and pork, seasoned with tomato and pepper … Once wrapped in banana leaves baked in a hole or “pib” dug in the courtyard of the house where they has to prepare wood and stones buried.
Squash, jicama, potatoes, sweet corn cobs (these are the pibinales), and a mass cakes and roasted beans-x’pelón calls are also buried.
While not typical of the region, it is increasingly common to see on the altars of Yucatan the “Pan de Muerto” (Bread of the dead), the skull-shaped candies and the Catrinas …these elements come from the center of the country, but their inclusion is a sign of a tradition that continues and will continue for a long time, more alive than ever.