Travesia Sagrada 2017 : The Sacred Mayan Journey PHOTO BLOG The Sacred Mayan Journey, a Tradition Recreated by Xcaret Park
This year marked the 11th Annual Travesia Sagrada/Sacred Mayan Journey: the recreation of a sacred ritual performed in ancient times. The brave Maya would cross the 20 miles of open sea on their canoes from the shores of the Riviera Maya to the island of Cozumel to worship the goddess, Ixchel, and bring her omen of prosperity or hardship back to the mainland. The goddess Ixchel represents the harvest, creation, the divine feminine and birth therefore her prophecy for the tribe was critical to survival and preparation. The tribe's shaman would prepare a sacrifice to appease and/or to thank the goddess Ixchel for the bounty to come for that year or for the warning for what lie ahead.
The Sacred Mayan Journey is just one of the ways that Xcaret works to preserve Mayan history and culture, through the representations of rituals, dances and ceremonies. Xcaret is a majestic park by the sea where you can relive the history of Mexico through colorful traditions and shows, endless activities and beautiful native flora and fauna. The dance, music and rituals that took place before, during and after the canoers crossing are an artistic look into the life of an Ancient Mayan resident of this enchanting region of Mexico.
Even though BuyPlaya has covered previous editions of this extraordinary tradition, it was the first time for me personally to witness the recreation of this historic ritual. The departure from Xcaret Park was a Friday morning at 5am, hundreds of people gathered to support and cheer the 300 brave canoers (women and men) that would cross the high sea on a pilgrimage to Chankanaab, Cozumel. This journey was the result of 6 months of hard and strict preparation and training. On the island of Cozumel there was a celebration, feast, and ritual that awaited them where they recieved the oracle of prosperity from the godess Ixchel. The 300 men and women then again boarded their canoes the following dawn, leaving Cozumel and paddling hours under a strong hot sun and through an angry sea.
At Xcaret Park, hundreds of curious onlookers, supportive family members and friends of the canoers anxiously awaited their heroic return. The highly emotional final moment was captured through the lens of our camera. The photos only represent a small part of the real intensity of this magical moment. The energy, the earnestness of every movement, every articulation and even the determination of each canoer and as a team, was palpable. Tears, screams, smiles, joy and pride were drawn on the many varied painted, sweat streaked, and sunburnt faces as they reached the coast and accomplished their hard journey.
Xcaret gives every year the opportunity not only to tourists for allowing them to witness such beautiful and important traditions, but also to local residents that proudly participate to the recreation of this tradition that represents the history of Riviera Maya's ancestors. This year, the crowd of participants was very eclectic: In addition to Mexican local residents, men and women also residents of the Riviera Maya area, but from different parts of the world embarked the journey of a lifetime.
Visit Xcaret Park's website to find out more about their incredible activities, tours and adventures and don't miss next year's Sacred Mayan Journey as either a bystander, or who knows.... maybe as a participant ;)