Balche was served during the ancient Mayan ceremonial rites, it is a corn-based and balche gruel, a nectar that was obtained from fermenting the bark of the tree of the same name, and which was sweetened with corn or anis. Today, balche is still consumed in Quintana Roo, Yucatan and Tabasco. The ancient Chontals from Tabasco offered this beverage to alleged goblins, owners of the hill, who took care of the field and domestic animals.
Balche was very important for the Maya people. Because of its pagan nature, after the arrival of the Spanish, its consumption was prohibited in order to turn the natives toward Christianity. It was not until a native called Chi convinced the conquerors that balche had healing qualities and could be used to fight the high indigenous mortality, as this mortality was the result of the prohibition of this nectar. Thus, the prohibition was lifted and the rituals were performed once again.
The natives living in the Lacandon jungle believed that the gods had been the first to get drunk on balche and decided to emulate them and have the same experience. Through prayer, the Lacandons prepared the beverage together with several other people, with whom they prayed and drank until dawn.
It is very common to find balche on the altars for the dead prepared by today's Mayans for the Day of the Dead or HanalPixan. It is served in gourds and its freshness relieves the thirst caused by the tropics. You will probably also be able to try it if you participate in a temascal (sweat lodge) ceremony in the southeast of the country, as it is offered as a ritual drink.