On Friday, May 25th the island of Cozumel and Xcaret Park will host The Sacred Mayan Journey, a ritual which has been performed for over 1000 years. It recreates when the ancient Mayans would cross the sea on their canoes to Cozumel Island to worship the Ixchel goddess, the deity ruling over fertility, health, water and vegetation. The Caribbean Sea has always been of great importance to the Mayan culture, for food, transportation, and an entry to Xibalba, the underworld.
The island goes back a long way and was thought to have been settled by the Mayan civilization. Once known as Kuzamil, it was a pilgrimage site, along with Tulum and Coba. Today it´s accessible by a 45 minute ferry ride that departs from Playa del Carmen. Residents enjoy a resort lifestyle filled with natural beauty and survives on tourists who go to enjoy its white-sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters.
The event has the participation of 35 foreign canoers, from Argentina, Canada, the United States, Colombia, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, France, Slovakia, Spain and Italy. This year there will 377 canoers, the highest number of participants that the event has had since its first edition. Canoers will depart from Xcaret Park, crossing the Caribbean Sea over a period of six to eight hours, depending on weather conditions. They will arrive at Chankanaab Park in Cozumel, and the return journey will take place on Saturday May 26th in the morning. They anticipate reaching Xcaret around 1.oopm.
All canoers who make the journey do so voluntarily, after intense training over six months, in which they test their physical and mental abilities, as well as their spiritual values. Of the total canoers, trained in the schools of Cancún, Xcaret, Xel-Há and Cozumel, 46% are women and 54% are men. Afterwards 218 artists participate in ceremonies of music and dance, from the DIF and the House of Culture of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, the Mayan zone of the south of Quintana Roo.
Xcaret Park is a 20 minute drive from Gate48, so come and see for yourself why this event generates great expectations year after year. It serves as a cultural link for residents of northern Quintana Roo and as an incentive for local tourism. Be a part of a yearly pilgrimage that began over 1000 years ago and help honor the valiant oarsmen who undertake this sacred journey to obtain special favors from the goddess for all their people.
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