Festival de Vida y Muerte Xcaret Park 2013

Quiero pib, quiero pib, quiero pib!

Every year as the end of October approaches, my stomach starts to growl and my mouth starts to water as thoughts of "pib" aka "mucbilpollo" start dancing in my head. "Pib" is a traditional dish served for "Dia de los Muertos" or "Hanal Pixan", similar to a tamal and oh so tasty. I know that I will get my "pib" fix when I visit Xcaret for the annual "Festival de Vida y Muerte" event. And my hot chocolate. And churros. And coconut candy.

The food is not the only reason to attend this grand fiesta (though it sure is a good one). Every year Xcaret Park in the Riviera Maya plays host to the "Festival of Life and Death", a cultural celebration honouring the Mexican traditions of "Day of the Dead". Dance, music, theater, children's activities, visual art, there is so much to do that you can't possibly see it all. I take the most pleasure in just wandering around and soaking in the vibe (and eating as much as possible of course).

Make-up stations are placed throughout the park and everyone is invited to paint their faces in the style of the "calavera" or "skulls". You'll see scary death masks, beautiful "Catrinas", ghostly pallor, pretty skeletons, every face is different and it is certainly the favourite activity of visitors to the festival. I've taken to going one step further, doing my make-up at home and putting together a costume of sorts, playing Catrina and truly embracing the holiday in my own way. I'm no expert in make-up but I have SUCH FUN and love seeing the reactions of the children at the park. And the other drivers on the highway. And the police at the Playa del Carmen check point.

Looking at the schedule of events for one day is overwhelming, almost 40 different activities and shows. This year we chose to see a play called "El Pajaro Dziu" by Aquelarre Teatro in the newest performance venue in the park, the Salon Hacienda. I was entranced! Three young artists told this traditional Maya story with music, dance and a great sense of humour. My only disappointment was having to hear someone behind me translating the show for their English speaking guest, it was a distraction (I come from the world of theater, you do NOT talk during a play!) I blocked them out and enjoyed myself immensely regardless. Just a heads up for monolingual guests that some of the performances are in Spanish only, you may prefer to catch a dance or music show instead.

Without exaggeration, I can easily say that this is the most anticipated event of the year in the Riviera Maya for me. Xcaret Park does a phenomenal job of organization, I'm always blown away by the professionalism and quality of their work. It is certainly worth taking a special trip at this time of year to discover the beauty of the "Day of the Dead" celebrations in Mexican style. This year I shared the experience with my son and my man, priceless time with the ones I love. For more information, be sure to check out this link, Festival de Vida y Muerte. Trust me, this is leagues beyond Halloween, it's something that will change you and stay with you forever. More photos of Festival de Vida y Muerte 2013.


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