A Mayan girl repairs parging of a niche during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico. A Mayan girl repairs parging of a niche during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico.
Mayan women take care of a dried-up scull of a deceased family member during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico. Mayan women take care of a dried-up scull of a deceased family member during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico.
Colorful niches and above-ground tombs are seen during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico. Colorful niches and above-ground tombs are seen during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico.
Colorful niches and above-ground tombs are seen during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico. Colorful niches and above-ground tombs are seen during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico.
A dried-up scull and bones are seen wrapped in an embroidered cloth and placed in a wooden crate inside a niche at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico. A dried-up scull and bones are seen wrapped in an embroidered cloth and placed in a wooden crate inside a niche at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico.
Mayan peasants take care of dried-up bones of a deceased family member during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico. Mayan peasants take care of dried-up bones of a deceased family member during the bone cleansing ritual at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico.
A dried-up scull and bones are seen wrapped in a cloth and placed in a wooden crate inside a niche at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico. A dried-up scull and bones are seen wrapped in a cloth and placed in a wooden crate inside a niche at the cemetery in Pomuch, Mexico.

Bone cleansing: A Day of the Dead ritual

Pomuch, Campeche, Mexico – October 2019

Every year on the Day of the Dead, people of Pomuch, a small Mayan community in the south of Mexico, visit the cemetery to take part in a pre-Hispanic tradition of cleaning of bones of their departed relatives (“Limpia de huesos”). People who die in Pomuch are firstly buried for three years in an above-ground tomb then the dried-up bodies are taken out, bones are separated, wrapped in a decorated cloth, put into a wooden crate, and placed on display among flowers for veneration.

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