Pomuch will be the most special stops you make on your way through these lands. In the cemetery of Pomuch you will live one of those corners of Mexico where they celebrate death in a special way.

A few years ago, since my mom died, I had the need to go out to celebrate / honor her for the Day of the Dead. So those days I choose a special place to go, I take my mommy's picture from home (in many altars and celebrations the photos of loved ones are used) and I go out alone a few days to honor her. I had a huge luck as a mom, we enjoyed everyday in life and learned from her a lot of what I am; since his death I carry it in the depths of my person, it is part of me. But let us leave the intimate and personal to discover you Pomuch, a unique place where they celebrate the dead in a very special way.

It does not escape anyone that in Mexico death is experienced in a special way, there are many places to live the tradition and the Celebration of Day of the Dead in a culturally distinct way. In the Yucatan Peninsula I would say that Pomuch is the most special place to do it.


Where Pomuch is located

Pomuch is a small town of almost 9,000 inhabitants located at 53 kilometers from Campeche and 120 of Mérida. The tradition of burial is practiced differently. In Pomuch the dead are not buried and put in funeral boxes, here the dead are outdoors in open boxes.


Pomuch Cemetery

The cemetery is a labyrinth of colors with the mixture of the two types of tombs, the boarded up and the open ones. In the open ones we see the ossuaries with unsealed wooden boxes with the bones of the deceased, and at the top of the heap the skull. An embroidered and untainted white handkerchief is placed in the bottom of the box where the bones go. The box is usually made of wood, but I also saw them made of cardboard, according to the family's resources.

The remains are deposited in a box, they take between three and four years to be able to exhume them

Doña Palmira keeps her hair old after 14 years
Cemetery of Pomuch, Campeche

Day of the Dead in Pomuch

The days before the Day of the Dead celebration (the 31 days in October, and 1 and 2 in November), the relatives go to the cemetery and dress their dead so that they are presentable, for those days that the dead come back and visit us.

Dress the dead it means cleaning the bones and the grave, an act of the most moving: they take out the box with the bones, they settle them on the floor on a white handkerchief and with a brush and a cloth, they clean all the bones one by one. They start with the biggest, then the smallest and finally the skull, with their hair if it is still preserved. One of the relatives of the dead man cleans the grave and the other the bones. It's something of the family, they do the ritual together. This millenary tradition, which we hope will not be lost, makes it possible for us to see grandparents with their grandchildren in the cemetery, transmitting knowledge to them. Seeing the love towards their dead is precious, some would say that creepy, but in my case I only saw beauty in this act of love.

Pomuch, dressing the dead 1

In the Pomuch Cemetery You will also see tombs boarded up in a traditional way, where they are buried and kept in funeral boxes. These dead also dress for Day of the Dead, cleaning and painting the tombstones, as they do in other places like Hoctún. Obviously it is not so shocking, but it is a very nice act. The relatives take paint and repaint the tombstones with colors and letters, so they dress them.

Pomuch, dressing the dead 2

One of the people I spoke with explained to me that it was very sad to see the neglected dead, it is not good to forget about the loved ones. We have to continue taking care of them in death, because Even if they are dead, they are still with us. I was able to talk with most of the families who went to dress their dead, it was a great learning for me. Out of respect, curiosity and humanity, with the camera as a support and not as the end of the visit, the experience at Pomuch filled my heart.

Pomuch, dressing the dead 3
Pomuch, dressing the dead 4
Showing me her husband

On a personal level I would like to add something that I think is of vital importance When visiting Pomuch: the place is very sweet, each year more visitors go to see this tradition up close, and we already know the tendency of the human being to live as a spectacle of others. I saw people and televisions anxious with their cameras, invading the privacy of the villagers, salivating as if they had the rage before the possibility of a photo. Keep in mind that the people of Pomuch are usually humble and close, they will not make you an ugly if you ask them about their tradition, you can accompany them without problem. They are people in an intimate act, so come with respect, talk to them. If you are allowed to take photos, go ahead. Do not be a crappy one, let's be better.

Pomuch, dressing the dead 5
Talk and approach with respect, it's not a Pomuch show

The Pomuch Cemetery You can visit it every day of the year, it is open to the public. Dress up the dead in Pomuch It is a practice that you can see throughout the year, if you are lucky enough to coincide in the cemetery with a family. As we said, the days before Día de Muertos, many families go to the cemetery to perpetrate their beautiful tradition. Match or not on dates, I would stop to visit the cemetery, it's different, it's exciting.

Pomuch, dressing the dead 6

Pomuch, Mayan culture

 LOCATION: Pomuch It is located 53 km from Campeche and 120 of Mérida. Highway via Campeche-Mérida.
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? Transportation arrives to Pomuch from Campeche, also collectives from Merida. They stop in all the towns, the journey is slow.
HOW TO VISIT POMUCH? You can walk the town walking or tricitaxis, which take you to the cemetery. The buses leave you in the center, the cemetery is not far away, at about 500 meters.
ACCOMMODATION and RESTAURANT: You find very simple accommodation in Pomuch. There is a restaurant that I recommend to the north entrance of the town (the one in Mérida, so to speak). Pomuch, dressing the dead 7

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
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