Hanal Pixán: Food For The Souls

This Maya tra­di­tion for the Day of the Dead is when food takes on a spe­cial mean­ing for the spir­its who re­turned home to visit their fam­i­lies

The Playa Times Riviera Maya's English Newspaper - - News In Brief - BY MELISSA ROBLES

Mex­ico is a coun­try where the theme of death is treated with pro­found re­spect and hu­mor at the same time. In the re­gion of the Yu­catan Penin­sula on Oc­to­ber 31 and Novem­ber 1 and 2, Hanal Pixán or “Food For The Souls” is cel­e­brated. This tra­di­tion of the Mayan peo­ple is to re­mem­ber loved ones who have died. They be­lieve that the souls have per­mis­sion to re­turn to our world for a brief time each year, and be­cause of this, elab­o­rate dishes and al­tars are pre­pared to re­ceive them.

The tra­di­tions sur­round­ing Hanal Pixán are sim­i­lar to Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tions in other parts of Mex­ico. Fam­i­lies set up al­tars in their homes and dec­o­rate graves in the ceme­ter­ies.

On the al­tar typ­i­cal sea­sonal food is placed: atole, mucbipol­los, ji­cama, man­darin or­anges, or­anges, xec, pa­paya can­dies, co­conut, pump­kin seeds, tamales, and con­tain­ers of tanchu­cuá (an atole made from corn, co­coa, pep­per, and anise).

Ev­ery day of the Hanal Pixán fes­tiv­i­ties has a dif­fer­ent sig­nif­i­cance to the typ­i­cal Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tions.

Oc­to­ber 31 is ded­i­cated to chil­dren who have died and is called U Hanal Palal. Novem­ber 1 is called U

Hanal Nu­cuch Uini­coob and is ded­i­cated to de­ceased adults, while Novem­ber 2 is called U Hanal Pix­anoob and is when fam­i­lies of­fer food for the souls. “Eight days af­ter Hanal Pixán, Maya peo­ple cel­e­brate the bix, where lines of can­dles are lighted so the dead find their way home. Th­ese can­dles rep­re­sent the ceiba (the Maya sa­cred tree), the con­nec­tion be­tween life and death. Can­dles are also placed on the al­tars rep­re­sent­ing the 13 lay­ers of the uni­verse. The black one stands for the root which con­nects us to the un­der­world,” ac­cord­ing to Her­melindo Be Ci­tuk, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional In­dige­nous As­so­ci­a­tion for the Au­ton­omy of Quin­tana Roo (ANIPA). The Hanal Pixán tra­di­tion is more com­mon in the south­ern com­mu­ni­ties of the state such as Lázaro Cár­de­nas, Felipe Car­rillo Puerto, José María More­los and Tu­lum where peo­ple pre­pare a pu­rifi­ca­tion rit­ual in or­der to wel­come their dead. Even though Can­cun and the Riviera Maya are mul­ti­cul­tural des­ti­na­tions this tra­di­tion is still prac­ticed here.

The lo­cal De­part­ments of Cul­ture in each mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the state have or­ga­nized the Fes­ti­val de Día de Muer­tos Hanal Pixan 2015 for Oc­to­ber 31 and Novem­ber 1. See What’s On for more in­for­ma­tion of events.

For Hanal Pixán, on the al­tar Mayan tra­di­tional and sea­sonal food is placed / Photo: Ca­chonavarro Word­press

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