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Cancun to host 11th annual Sacred Mayan Journey in May

Cancun in Mexico will be honouring the ancient annual pilgrimage of the Maya this month with the 11th Sacred Mayan Journey. The journey re-enacts ancient traditions including several hand carved canoes being rowed by Mayan people from Xcaret (formerly Pole) to Cozumel and back. The day before the journey, there will be a marketplace with demonstrations, performances, food and locals wearing traditional Mayan attire.

Cancun to host 11th annual Sacred Mayan Journey in May

One of Mexico’s most sacred pilgrimages will be taking place this month, with the launch of the 11th Sacred Mayan Journey. The event will take place in Cancun, and it will re-enact the ancient annual pilgrimage of the Maya to worship the moon goddess Ixchel.

Taking place on 26th and 27th May, 2017, the journey will celebrate the Mayan traditions, history and heritage. The modern version of the journey includes hand carved canoes being rowed by Mayan people between Xcaret (ancient name Pole) to Cozumel and back again. Once the pilgrims arrive at Chankannab Park in Cozumel, the islanders will welcome the oarsmen with ceremonial dances and music. In the evening, participants will visit the sanctuary and present fruit, corn and copal to Ixchel. When the sun rises the next morning, the oarsmen will then meet on the shores of Cozumel to cross the Caribbean Sea back to Xcaret.

The night before the pilgrimage, the traditional marketplace, Kii´wik, will take place in Xcaret, a seaside location that was the centre of ceremonies and trade. At the marketplace, visitors can see locals dress in traditional Mayan clothes with the faces painted in bright colours. There are live performances, demonstrations, and stalls where visitors can buy gifts and food. Rather than exchanging money, coffee beans are used as currency.

To celebrate the annual pilgrimage, two hotels in Cancun will be offering special programmes for holidaymakers. The Occidental hotel will offer Mayan botanical tours, Yucatan food tastings and a Mayan night show on the beach from 26th to 29th May, while the Allegro Cozumel will offer guests a Mayan treasure hunt rally, Mayan dance lessons, story-telling and a fire show.

“The Sacred Mayan Journey is a multi-day celebration of an ancient tradition that is at the core of our authentic guest experience. During the festival, guests can take part in the arrival and departure of the hand-carved canoes that are rowed by Mayan people.”

Explained Sandra Garcia, the Activities Manager at Occidental Cozumel.

The Caribbean Sea plays a vital role in the ancient pilgrimage, and like the region’s cenotes, it was seen as the entryway to the underworld by Mayans. During a visit to the local region, holidaymakers can visit other traditional Mayan sites including the ancient ruins of temples and cities. These include El Rey, Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza, with its El Castillo pyramid, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.  

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