Pueblo Maya Restaurant and Craft Market will celebrate Mayan customs of Hanal Pixán (Feast of the Spirits)

MERIDA, YUCATAN 30OCTUBRE2012.- ÒEl baile de las ‡nimasÓ es un evento que se realiza en v’speras del d’a de muertos en la Entidad. En el espect‡culo se ofrece una semblanza de las tradiciones del d’a de muertos en el Mayab; los bailes, los trajes t’picos y las ofrendas. Los participantes vestidos con ropa t’pica de la regi—n en este caso las mujeres con huipil y los hombres con guayabera y pantal—n de manta, ambos con el rostro pintado de calaveras; realizan oraciones a las ‡nimas acompa–ados con mœsica de una ÒserafinaÓ, instrumento que hace a–os sol’a estar en las novenas yucatecas. Incienso, bailes regionales, flores, juegos y un gran altar adornan el ambiente para llevar acabo la representaci—n de las ‡nimas y de esta manera dar la bienvenida a los fieles difuntos.. FOTO: FRANCISCO BALDERAS /CUARTOSCURO.COM

Pueblo Maya Restaurant and Craft Market will celebrate the feast of Hanal Pixán with special decorations and menu and an altar for observing the customs of this colorful feast.

At Pueblo Maya, located one mile from Chichén Itzá, the altar will be erected Saturday Oct. 31, will remain until Sunday Nov. 8. The restaurant will be open from noon to 5 p.m. daily (Yucatan time).

In Yucatan, the veneration that the indigenous people have for their dead relatives is an example of the blend of this culture. There is a belief that the soul is immortal and that it returns each year to share with the living the day marked for them. Thus, October 31 is dedicated to the “children”, Nov. 1 to “all saints” and Nov. 2 for “souls” (adults).

During the conquest, when the Franciscans were unable to uproot the ancient idolatrous rites of the Mayas, they tolerated certain practices that were not opposed to dogma, such as to honor their dead, offer gifts, light candles, burn resins etc, so, Hanal Pixán or “feast of the spirits” was born, during the commemoration of the Day of the Dead.

Catrina at Pueblo Maya (Photo: Pueblo Maya)
Catrina at Pueblo Maya (Photo: Pueblo Maya)

Fray Diego de Landa y Cogolludo, chronicler of the Yucatan, assures that there were no cemeteries in cities. The Maya buried their dead in their own home, behind their house, without a coffin, placing in their mouth a certain amount of cooked corn dough called “keyem” so they could eat while resting. If they were people of “rank” they also placed jade beads. They even erected receptacles where they deposited working utensils and food should it be a man, and if it was a woman, they placed combs, necklaces, blankets and jewelry. The children were buried with their toys. If you had twins and one of them died, to prevent the other from dying, his brother was buried along with a clay doll.

Upon finishing the burial they placed a sign to identify the grave. Usually it consisted of a corral of 2 square meters where they placed a signal to identify the grave. During colonial times these marks were exchanged for a wooden cross painted green representing Yaxché or Ceiba, in the Maya worldview, symbolizing the universe.

Generally, images of saints were also found, usually the Virgin del Carmen, patroness of purgatory.

These were buried near them, to be able to offer these foods consisting of fruits and candles. This led to the custom of making in the days of the dead “uahes pibil-” or “mucbilpollos”, tamales wrapped in banana leaves, to offer them on that visit.

It is believed that if a person dies during this time, it is said that “it was full candles”. Family members refrain from making pib, because it is believed that by digging in the earth, they are digging up the dead and will not let him rest in peace. Another custom is that for 9 days (when they begin the novenas on 22 October), they did not go hunting, because souls started to visit the land and may be in an animal and are not to be hunted . Another custom is to cut the arms of the hammock of the dead, so they would not to “feel the need” to return to rest and can go in peace.

Preparations include the cleaning of the house because of the belief that if things are dirty, the souls will cry to see that they are leaving work for them to do.

In homes and fields, cups of fresh atole were dedicated to the dead because they firmly believe that if foods are placed the souls descend to take a part of it, which is what they call “take grace.” Gourds are also placed on the altar with water to purify and protect the inhabitants of the house from the “evil wind”.

It is customary also to put candles on the barricades, to “indicate” the way the souls.

Hanal Pixan Altar (Google)
Hanal Pixan Altar (Google)

Foods spend all night from 1 to 2 November in small altars, and when the souls of the dead “have taken the grace”  the family eats the mucbilpollos, and drinks, thus ending the ceremony “hanal pixán”. Some put ash by the altar to see the footprints of the deceased and thus confirm their visit.

All these celebrations are made regardless of cost, because people want to be remembered one day, in the same way.

October 31st. Altar of children’s souls.

The Altar table is covered with an embroidered cloth of nuanced colors, because the bright colors are associated with children. In some places it is customary to “dress” the Cross. The flowers are used in an arc with lemongrass, and fresh xpujuk, x`muul, rue, fan, virginias and teresitas.  Bowls are placed with chocolate, along with glasses of water, as this is a symbol of the origin of life and quenches the thirst of the thirsty souls. Water can not be missing on the altar. Breads are made in the shape of animals and toys made of wood or clay and candles of many colors. At least one for each dead child. The food is suitable for children and is usually chicken stew because it gives energy to the children. If the deceased is a child, 4 food rations are set according to the belief that there are four points of the cornfield and everything about a boy revolves around the 4 corners. If it’s a girl who died, 3 portions of food are placed, because woman’s life revolves around the 3 stones of the stove. Also placed is the “X’ec” and this is complemented by sweets, zapotitos or marzipan.

The altar is also decorated with an image of the deceased child and children’s clothes, along with their favorite toy and hammock.

The shaman will be paid Oct. 30 in the afternoon with sugar, 2 breads, a slab of chocolate and 2 “ix wah”. So Oct. 31 at 4 in the morning is the time of first offer and prayer. A candle for each deceased child of the family and one for the soul alone is lighted. During the rosary the name of the deceased person who makes only “grace” of the offerings is mentioned. They also accompany the prayers, with chants asking forgiveness and eternal rest of the souls.

In the backyard or slightly away from the main altar, a ration of food, candles and tortillas is placed for the altar of the “single soul”, that is, for that which has no one to pray for him.

Altar en Pueblo Maya Hanal Pixan 2014 (Photo: Pueblo Maya)

November 1st.

Oct. 31 finished the prayer, and after distributing the gifts among the attendees, the altar was again prepared for the offering of adults. It is necessary to change the tablecloths that must be only in black and white. The candles are changed to one of these colors, removing children’s lively colors. Again an offering is made to the shaman so that Nov. 1 from 4 in the morning prayer can start to finish before 8 am and then they can start to prepare the pibes again. Men are responsible for making the “hole” and trying to use cedar to flavor the food. They comply with the food tastes and sex of the deceased, adding alcohol if the deceased liked to drink and a cigar or cards if they liked smoking or playing cards. Also corn and more elaborate sweets are made. Images of saints are included, being the most popular, the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Virgin of Izamal, God of Conception, the child of Atocha, and Our Lady of Carmen.

November 2nd. Altar of the Dead.

This day is very special because the offerings of flowers and candles are included in the church and graves of relatives. Mass is also heard in cemeteries and churches. It is the day when most people go to cemeteries because the graves are cleaned, flowers changed and mourners gather around it for prayers. However, the altar table that was put into the house, remains lit with candles for eight days, the so-called “bix u ochovario” where the tasty tamales, pibes and vaporcitos are prepared. But they also put unpeeled fruits, because they believe that is what they eat throughout the year. It is the same ceremony, but more private and informal.

After the last two days, everything is removed from the table leaving only the images and a candle lit until the end of the month, which is when they say goodbye to the souls, placing the ends of the candles on the barricade to be fully consumed, to light the way for souls to return to the afterlife.










POLLO EN ESCABECHE DE VALLADOLID (Valladolid Style Chicken in Marinade)













SALAD BAR / BARRA DE ENSALADAS : Romanita, tomate, pepino, zanahoria, remolacha y ensalada de repollo (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot, beeds and cole slaw)

DRESSINGS / ADEREZOS :   mil islas, ranchera y vinagreta, aceite de oliva y vinagre balsámico, salsa tártara, pico de gallo, cebolla curtida roja (thousand island, ranch, vinagrette, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tartar sauce, pico de gallo, red onion)

COMPLEMENTOS: Pan, tortillas y totopos

DESSERTS / POSTRES      Arroz con leche, caballeros pobres, dulce de papaya, gelatina y helado de fruta (2 opciones).

FRUTASde la estación (2 opciones)


– N.B.   Atendemos de manera personalizada  a las pasajeros con particularidades alimentarias  (v.g.: vegetarianos, Celíacos, etc)

 (We cater special service for vegetarians or Celiacs)

Pueblo Maya – Mexican Restaurant & Mexican Crafts Market

  • Address: Calle 15 # 48-B, Manzana # 13, Piste, Yucatan, C.P. 97751
  • Location: 1 kilome
    Catrina at Pueblo Maya (Photo: Pueblo Maya)
    Catrina at Pueblo Maya (Photo: Pueblo Maya)

    ter from Chichen Itza.

  • Tel: (985) 851-0391
  • Tel: (985) 851-0098
  • Tel: (985) 851-0024