Day of the Dead: Practices in the Yucatán Peninsula

Day of the Dead illustration
by Dani Knod

Mexicans worldwide fondly refer to November 2 as the "Day of the Dead" or "Día de los Muertos." Known as "haanal pixan" in the native Mayan tongue, the day revolves around decorating tombs and creating altars in homes with flowers, pictures, as well as prepared favorite foods of the family's deceased loved ones.

Specifically, November 1 is reserved for offerings of foods for passed infants and children, and the 2nd for adults. Each family wishes for the spirits of their dead to descend and spend the week among them. In order to show how much each of the loved ones is missed, a huge feast with all of the favorite foods of the spirits is prepared and set out for the remainder of the week for spirit snacking.

At the end of the week, the families take up their offerings and say "goodbye" to the spirits until next year. After the cleanup, a large feast and party is held among the family to celebrate their time spent with their loved ones.