A group of competitors in traditional attire paddling a long canoe in clear blue ocean waters, with onlookers cheering from the shore.

Reviving Ancient Maya Voyage for Goddess Ixchel | Spectacular Journey

Hundreds of spectators gathered to witness the reenactment of the Sacred Maya Journey, a historical voyage across the Caribbean Sea to the island of Cozumel. Brave paddlers embarked on this ancestral journey, paying homage to the goddess Ixchel in a ritual dating back over 500 years.

The ceremony commenced with a purification and healing ritual at the port of Polé, now known as Xcaret. The journey honors the Itzae tribes, also known as the Grand Wizards of Water, who established significant trade routes. Setting off at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, May 24th, the paddlers paid tribute to Ixchel, the deity associated with fertility, the moon, and birth. Upon reaching Cozumel, they presented offerings and sought wisdom from the goddess's oracle before embarking on their return journey. They arrived back at Xcaret Park at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 25th, carrying the good news to their loved ones.

The 2024 edition of the journey was not merely a physical expedition, but also an artistic endeavor, integrating rituals, dances, and trade to honor our ancestors' legacy. The voyage was inspired by the pilgrimage described in the Chilam Balam of Chumayel. The paddlers set off from the ancient site of P'ole towards Cozumel, reviving the trade practices and religious customs of the region's ancient inhabitants. This year, 348 paddlers, including 47% women and 53% men, undertook the challenge. They spent over six months preparing both physically and mentally, showcasing their strength and dedication. Their participation is a testament to the communal effort and perseverance that define this tradition. Veterans of previous journeys also took part, cementing this event as a Riviera Maya tradition.

RELATED ARTICLES  Mexican Journalist in Legal Battle with Construction Company Over Land Dispute

The Sacred Maya Journey was a practice of the Mayans during the late post-classic period in various locations in what is now Quintana Roo. They would set sail towards Cozumel to worship Ixchel, the goddess of the moon, fertility, and weaving. The Spanish conquerors later prohibited this practice, and it was forgotten for centuries. In 2007, after two years of research and preparation, Xcaret Park revived this significant journey. This reenactment not only pays tribute to an ancestral tradition but also fosters cultural awareness, identity, and social cohesion, enhancing the community's pride in their Mexican heritage and culture.