I am posting photographs taken in late October. There are general photos of the market, where people are preparing to welcome back the spirits during Hanal Pixan, more commonly known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). People build altars in their homes with photographs and mementos of departed loved ones and the altars are completed with their favorite foods and beverages, candles, and flowers. Several of the photos are in the downtown Plaza Grande where the City of Mérida sponsors an exhibition of altars created by state and municipal organizations.
The tradition of sugar skulls, common to central México, is migrating to Yucatán but without the exquisite detail found in other Mexican cities. Viewers will note that the crosses are decorated with Maya/Mestizo huipiles, the embroidereded clothing that is traditional to this state and worn by both Maya and Mestiza women. The palapa buildings were erected on Monday night in the Plaza and the altars were in place by 10AM on Tuesday. Perhaps because judging was over at noon and many people had to return to their towns before dark, the altars were disassembled by 3PM. As an observer, I wished they were on view for more time – several days even – given the community effort involved. However, it is a public display and not the same as private celebrations in homes and at cemetaries in the region and throughout the country. Oh, and yes, baby Jésus is getting a new coat of paint in Mercado Lucas Gálvez just in time for the Christmas season.