Riviera Maya’s Sacred Mayan Journey
Mexico’s Riviera Maya is filled with adventure, excitement and ancient rituals that are sure to keep every family entertained during their stay. One of the most highly anticipated annual events key to the area is the Sacred Mayan Journey.
Several years ago, the owners of Xcaret worked tirelessly with local historians to recreate one of the most sacred traditions of the Maya people; the Maya journey. With rowers ready and canoes prepped, the Maya people set out on a journey across the waters near Playa del Carmen to the island of Cozumel. There, they left offerings for the goddess Ixchel, and in return, were given blessings for a fruitful marriage.
For this special event, 25 traditional handmade Mayan canoes with 300 trained rowers are used for the Sacred Mayan Journey, which takes them approximately 50 kilometers and 6 to 7 hours of free paddling each way in the Cozumel Channel; a channel that is 420 meters deep with a current from south to north at 2 to 4 knots ensuring great physical rowing effort for each boat.
Ix Chel or Ixchel, a name from the 16th century, is the goddess of midwifery and medicine, fertility and water. In ancient Maya culture, Ix Chel is linked to Toci, who was an Aztec earth goddess referred to as “Our grandmother the nocturnal physician”.
During the 16th century, Mayan women would travel to the sanctuary of Ix Chel on the island of Cozumel to ensure a fruitful marriage. And men would do it in order to bring the blessings of the Goddess to the entire community. When they arrived, they would visit a priest who, hidden in a large statue, gave oracles. This pilgrimage is considered the most important after Chichen Itza.
This year, the Sacred Mayan Journey takes place May 22 and 23 and is an excellent event for those spending time in Playa del Carmen. For more information, visit the official website.