A good day to visit the dead

Photo: escapingabroad.com
Photo: escapingabroad.com
Photo: escapingabroad.com

Mérida, Yucatán — A journey through history told through the final resting place of its most famous people. That is how Sipse describes the guided tour of the colorful, massively expressive Cementerio General (General Cemetery) tomorrow.

Already a visually rich — some would say chaotic — cemetery, monuments will be adorned generously with flowers and tributes for Hanal Pixan, as the Day of the Dead is known here.

Usually, the tours are Wednesdays at 8 p.m., starting from the main house located within the cemetery’s historic pantheon. They are free.

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But this Friday, as part of Day of the Dead, there will be three tours, part of the traditional Paseo de la ánimas (Walk of Souls) at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Last year, the city counted some 20,000 people taking part in the walk from the cemetery to the San Juan arch. Along the way are musical acts on three stages, a presentation of traditional altars and shrines, and activities. Many participants dress in costume, with faces painted to appear as skulls.

The tour of about 50 minutes is guided by Wilbert Sosa Gutierrez, who has expressed his love for the history of the city through the stories that mix facts and legends alike.

Here’s a map to the cemetery, and here’s a daytime, off-season Google tour, if you can’t make it.

For more on the entire Paseo de la ánimas, this blogger documented it in 2013.

And here is the official schedule.

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