Festival the day of the death in Mexico.
Date of festival: October 31th – November 2nd
The area around Mérida on the Yucatan Peninsula has many interesting sites to explore. On daily trips you have a chance to see historic sites such as Celestún, Chichen Itzá and Mayapán. They attract visitors with their intriguing Mayan history and impressive architectural characteristics.
In the center of this holiday is the three day celebration of the “Day of the Death” in Mérida, known as “Hanal Pixan” in Yucatán. Families remember their loved ones who have passed away, yet at the same time celebrate that life continues. The people believe that the souls of the dead come back and are all around them. Colorful flowers as well as religious amulets cover and adorn gravesites and family altars in the homes.
This festival is celebrated throughout the whole country of Mexico. However, if you would like to combine also a colonial city, the barrier reef, and Mayan Ruins. We suggest you the following itinerary:
Day 1. Explore Mérida – City tour
Today you arrive in Mérida. In the afternoon a city tour will introduce you to this colonial city, which was founded by the Spaniard Francisco de Montejo “El Mozo” on January 6, 1542. Back then, Mérida was a large Mayan city known as T’ho. It was occupied by the Spaniards, who took apart all pyramids to use the huge stones as the foundation for the Cathedral of San Idelfonso. This cathedral is the oldest cathedral on the American continent. The tour further includes a visit to “El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya”. The evening will be filled with your own preferences.
Day 2. Uxmal – Kabah
You will make a day trip to Uxmal. It is one of the Mayan sites on the Yucatan Peninsula with the most magnificent, impressive architectural characteristics. Its beauty is characterized by the low, horizontal palaces that are arranged around patios and quadrangle courtyards. Many sculptures made out of small stones form perfect geometric mosaics that can be found here. Uxmal is incomparable to all other Mayan sites in the complete area. It is amazing.
Day 3. Kayak X-cambo Progreso
A kayaking tour leads you through the mangroves. Here you learn about the importance of this sensitive part of the ecosystem. After the mangroves, you head east to the archeological zone of X-Cambo which ones was a Mayan city of great importance for producing and commercializing salt. Lunch on the beach will be held in Progreso under the shade of a thatched roof. Afterwards, you have time to enjoy a stroll on the seaside walk “malecon”. In the afternoon you return to Mérida and can spend the evening there.
Day 4. Day of the Death festivities
One of the highlights of Hanal Pixan takes place on October 31st when 140 altars are displayed by participants from morning to afternoon. Parque de Santa Lucía, Parque de la Madre, Parque Hidalgo along calle 60 and the Plaza Grande will be occupied by a variety of altars, smells, tastes and colors. Several typical fruits, sweets, and a variety of colorful flowers will mix with the smell of chocolate. In the evening there is a procession from Parque de Santa Lucía to the Plaza Grande and a theatrical performance on the steps of the Cathedral. You have time to visit the altars and participate in the festivities.
Day 5 & 6. Day of the Death festivities
According to tradition, departed children are remembered on November 1st, which is the “Day of the Little Angels” (“Día de los Angelitos”). Adults are remembered on November 2nd, which is called “All Saints” (“Todos los Santos”).
Only during this holiday are colored candles used as decorations on altars and sugar skulls with names on the foreheads are displayed in the markets Lucas de Galvez and San Benito. Altar exhibitions can be visited at Plaza Grande, Parque de Santa Lucía, Parque de la Madre, Parque Hidalgo and Parque la Hermita.
Day 7. Mayapán – Cenote
After the festivities you have more time to explore the Yucatan Peninsula. Today you visit Mayapán, which is considered the last great Mayan capital. It is a unique experience to explore the crystal clear waters of the Mayan cenotes. Live it for yourself and be inspired by the magic of this place.
Day 8. Chichen Itzá
This trip leads you to one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world, Chichen Itzá. In Chichen Itzá you will find the impressive Pyramid of Kukulcan, the Great Ball Court and the fascinating Temple of a Thousand Columns. You can dive into interesting Mayan history and explore Akumal at the coast on an extension trip.
Day 9. Celestún
Located on the Western part of the Yucatan Peninsula, Celestún is a colorful coastal port. A large variety of exotic bird species, such as the fabulous pink flamingos, can be seen. The flamingos use the area around Celestún as their nesting grounds after coming from the Eastern parts of the Yucatan coast. You will have lunch in the city and lots of time to enjoy the beach before returning to Mérida.
Day 10. Leaving Merida
Unfortunately, today will mark the end of this holiday. We hope you will enjoy your experience. You can choose to extend your holiday by combining this tour with one of our other tours. Contact us for more information.