Paseo de las Animas Merida – Day of the Dead Festivities

Paseo de las Animas. Which we translated to “passing of the spirits”. Once again we have been on a fantastic adventure to Merida to discover more things! Yes, as the boys are getting older, we have to pull them out of the house to go with us – but once they were there they very much enjoyed it again.  One of our goals when living in the Yucatan was to experience as much of the Mexican culture as we could. Today was Halloween in much of the world, but in Mexico – Dia de los Muertos –  is a very much anticipated time of the year to spend with family. A time to remember loved ones.

Paseo de las animas 4Today, we once again tried to see the Hanal Pixan alters which are set up at the Plaza Grande in Merida Centro… yup, if you have been following our adventure we have tried three times previously to see this in its entirety.  Hmmm, I even put special notes in my post last year on EXACTLY what time we should be there… As per usual, we arrived late. I have to say that we arrived earlier than last year..but late is late and the beautifully constructed alters may take hours to build and perfect for the contest – they only take minutes to take apart. We actually got to see 3 or 4 that had not yet been pulled down, many that were being taken apart and a lot of empty spots where there used to be an altar.

So after a quick lunch at Cafe Habana, not sure we would rush back there, but the prices were reasonable and we are always looking for new places to try. Evan loved his tacos, the sopa de lima for 50 pesos was great but was missing something… it had fantastic vegetables but was lacking in the flavor. Anyways after the lunch with our friends, we parted ways and we headed out to the cemetery.

Well, we thought we were going to the cemetery we went to last year, but we asked and were directed to a different cemetery in Merida. Cementerio Xoclán is a fantastic looking cemetery from the outside, but we quickly realized we were not where we wanted to be. The good news is, if you type in Cementerio General in Merida, your google smart phone will quickly tell you that you are just 6 minutes away from where you want to be, 9 minutes if there is traffic! So off we went listening to the phone give us directions – this was the first time we have used a gps unit in Merida and Noah was laughing at the voice telling me where to go! Anyways if I am smart enough to read this next year, here is the address: x 90 y 81A Calle 81? Centro, 97000 Mérida, YUC, Mexico?.

We arrive early to this event which is supposed to start at 6pm and end at 12am. They say the parade starts at 6… but we left at 7:30 today and it had not started yet. One of the policeman explained how the evening was supposed to work to us, and at the end he added: “But, this is Mexico!” so everything changes.

Paseo de las animas 27We love to arrive early so we can wander through the cemetery and watch the people setting up for the evening. This year we wandered in a little different direction than last year and discovered a beautiful and historic area of the Merida cemetery. “Like a museum” is how one police man described it to us as we stopped to ask him more about the evening. Anyways, the colors were fantastic on the grave sites which had been recently painted. We did see some people working on their family grave sites and we were absolutely amazed at the end results. It is unfortunate that some of the sites are more run down and broken with age, I believe that these are sites which may not have any family left to take care of them and it was very sad to think that. One particularly green head stone caught my attention and I wandered over to it to snap a picture when I realized that right next to it was a partially open tomb with the bones exposed.

Anyways, after taking many pictures of the biggest cemetery I have ever seen, we headed back to wander the streets and watch the people putting the finishing touches on their alters. Simply fantastic. We love this part of the year and are already talking about going back next year!

There are 50 pictures in the slideshow below, the first section is the Hanal Pixan alters in Plaza Grande, centro Merida. The photos of the altars on the roadside and the cemetary are near the Cementario General in Merida. They are really worth looking at and the colors really jump out at you.


2 Responses to “Paseo de las Animas Merida – Day of the Dead Festivities”

  1. mom says:

    Amazing pictures Kurt. Can’t believe the brilliant colours on the graves.

    • Kurt says:

      I believe going right at dusk was the perfect time and the sun really added to the colors we could see and enhanced the experience. We watched several families as they were painting the monuments with care and attention and I am glad I was able to capture some of that in the pictures.

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