Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Goddess Ix Chel on Cozumel

Every year there is a reenactment of the Mayan crossing from the mainland to Cozumel in order to honor the goddess Ix Chel, the goddess of fertility.  It was tradition for the Mayans to make the pilgrimage  to Cozumel to the temple of Ix Chel at least once during their lifetime, especially for women who were pregnant or wishing to become pregnant. 

After months and months of training, modern day participants rise before dawn and leaving the mainland around 5am make the long journey across the channel arriving to Cozumel mid afternoon in dugout canoes.  It's a long, arduous journey, made more difficult since participants can only wear the typical Mayan dress, so no sunglasses, hats, or sun protection except a white cloth on their head.

Waiting on their arrival, I stood under an intense sun downing free cups of water provided for everyone in order to prevent sun stroke.  I  can only imagine what it was like to row for hours under that same sun.  

I was told stories about women who had become pregnant after attending the ceremony in years past -  even one who had had her tubes tied!  So, women beware!!

The celebration continued into the evening at Chankanab and was a total delight.  Chankanab is built around a beautiful cenote with three Mayan style temples.  I only wish we could have sat closer to the temples but the setting was devine and the lighting and production values were really terrific.  It only happens once a year, which is really a shame, so plan ahead.  You can get tickets for next year here:

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