Home LifestyleArt and Culture What is the difference between the Day of the Dead and the Hanal Pixán altars?

What is the difference between the Day of the Dead and the Hanal Pixán altars?

by Yucatan Times
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The Yucatecan tradition known as ‘the food of the souls’ contains different elements.

For people who are not from the Yucatan Peninsula, Hanal Pixán represents the same thing as the Day of the Dead, however, the Yucatecan holiday has different elements that separate one from the other.

The Hanal Pixán, known as ‘the food of the souls’, begins from October 31 to November 2, during which time the souls have permission to leave the Xibalbá (underworld) to live with their loved ones once year.

It is also characterized by having characteristic components of the region.

‘For the Mayans, human life was constituted by the Pixan (the soul), a gift that the gods gave to man from the moment he was engendered; This vital fluid determined the vigor and energy of the individual. The element that would travel to the underworld upon the occurrence of physical death’ , indicates the research from the Autonomous University of Yucatán (UADY) titled ‘Hanal Pixan: Food of the Souls’.

The first day of celebration ‘u hanal palal’ commemorates the souls who lost their lives at a young age, that is, the infants.

Next, all deceased adults are celebrated ‘u hanal nucuch uinicoob’ and on November 2, the souls are remembered, known as ‘u hanal pixanoob’.

Unlike the altars of the dead in the rest of the country, those set up in the Yucatan Peninsula have as an important element a green cross at the top.

This is one of the most important components, since it represents the ceiba, the sacred tree for the Mayans.

The altars in the Yucatan Peninsula have a green cross as an important element. 

Likewise, atole gourds are added , which represent the four cardinal points.

In the offering, 22 offerings are also prepared for the ancient gods, 13 for the deities of the heavens and 9 for those of the underworld.

As for food, Hanal Pixán includes delicious dishes from the region, such as mucbipollo or ‘pib’.

The mucbipollo or ‘pib’, is a huge tamale with a filling of pork, chicken, tomato, and chili, covered in layers of banana leaves. 

This exquisite dish consists of a huge tamale with a filling of pork, chicken, tomato and chili, covered by several layers of banana leaves.

The traditional cooking process takes place underground, as it is buried in a hole where hot firewood and stones are used to cook the crispy tamale.

This celebration means a lot to the residents of the area, who, like the rest of the country, come together to honor the lives of loved ones who have lost and left this world.

TYT Newsroom

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