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Screen_Shot_2014-10-31_at_7.52.22_PMIt originated from the Mayan Culture and is celebrated every 31stof October and 1st and 2nd of November. The Mayans believed that death was simply another form of life. Hanal Pixán, which means “Food of the Soul”, is celebrated to remember friends and relatives that have passed onto the afterlife.

Roy Rodriguez – Retire History Prof at CJC

“It goes directly to the Mayans even before the Mestizo came in to play a role here so an it has to do with the Maya preoccupation with the dead and the Maya strongly believe that the dead influence their live and because of that they would have to be in harmony with them.”

And when Roy Rodriguez, Retire History Professor at Corozal Community College says to be in harmony with the dead, it means that the living is obliged to set up an altar in their respective homes. But what is the real significant behind the setting of the altar and the offering set for them? We asked Rodriguez.

Roy Rodriguez – Retire History Prof. at CJC

“First the village itself had to prepare, cleaning up especially the roads because they were expecting just like if they were expecting the visit of the souls or people you would want to welcome them with a clean house so it was a general cleaning that could happen a week or two before and so preparation were made and getting out the materials for the alter table, materials like flowers, candles and the jicara because remember if we look traditionally the Mayas insisted that everything on the table had to be like the jicaras.”

Victor Castillo – Reporter

“When we are talking about the alter, the setting of the alter what are the different items that is custom that you put on top of the alter?”

Roy Rodriguez – Retire History Prof. at CJC

“In terms of the items placed on the alter, I think we are seeing a big change now because traditionally the pure Mayas had their own thing as I mentioned the jicaras would be used instead of the normal plates or the bowls so that would not be acceptable but today you know what has happened with the history of the Maya, the Spanish came with their religion so to accommodate themselves they had to go with the Christian Religion."

According to Rodriguez, since the inception of the traditional Hanal Pixán there have been a number of changes as here in Belize many that practice this tradition observe it either on the first of November or the second.

Roy Rodriguez – Retire History Prof. at CJC

“What happens is that on the first of November believe to be the day when the souls of the children depart the children and come back to their homes and that is a believe there and everything is for the children and even in the prayers and even the table reflects that you would have sweets, toy to them because of the children and they make prayers and then on the second date will be for the adults but the believe of the Maya on the children were that they died as children and they were innocent so they would go to glory immediately so it is a different set up as oppose to the adults they would either go to Gloria or hell”

But what remains a fact is that the Hanal Pixán last’s for seven days.

Roy Rodriguez – Retire History Prof. at CJC

“For the first seven days they would organize a resado, the 7th becomes an important number for the Maya and the relations to the dead because seven days after they die then there is a ceremony and seven weeks, seven months and then the yearly or the anniversary so that is one commitment they had with the souls and then the second commitment has to do with the annual ceremony which is what it is or what we are going to start celebrating tomorrow and that has to do with the Hannal Pixan or Finados and that again has to do with seven because the Mayas believe that for seven days then starting with the first and ending on the 8th of November then the souls of the departing were visiting us they were here with us and they ended up on the 8th of November with what is still called Bixx.”

On many Mayan villages offerings to the dead are performed on the eighth day of the "official Hanal Pixan" or at the end of the November dates, which is known as Bixx.

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