I recently visited Xcaret Park in Mexico to witness a Sacred Mayan Journey where hundreds of oarsmen travel to Cozumel to seek the Blessings of a Goddess
Have you ever witnessed an ancient and sacred ritual that dates back thousands of years? Can you imagine the emotional pulse and energy that might surround you, when you are bearing witness to such a powerful and long lost tradition like this? I was recently invited to Xcaret Park on Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico to attend the 10th annual Sacred Mayan Journey aka Travesia Sagrada Maya and words and pictures just cannot do justice to the powerful experience of observing such a meaningful, powerful ancient ritual, but I will try.
The Sacred Mayan Journey dates back to thousands of years ago in ancient Mayan culture, when the Mayan villagers would embark on a canoe journey for days to the island of Cozumel in order to receive divine blessings for fertility and wellness from the Goddess Ixchel.
After 500 years of abandonment, in 2007 Xcaret Park revitalized this pre-Hispanic sacred Mayan ritual in order to ignite cultural interest and awareness in this long lost tradition. In the very first modern day ceremony at Xcaret, only five canoes and twenty-five oarsmen made the journey from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. However ten years later, this meaningful ceremony is remembered during an indelible two-day reenactment festival which goes to painstaking lengths to deliver authentic cultural accuracy by adhering to the original dances, music, rituals and authentic canoes of this ancient tradition.
Three hundred 300 canoers (166 men and 135 women) participated in the 2017 journey, and they successfully completed this life changing trip by paddling nine hours back and forth in open water without stopping. This incredible experience requires six months of intense training to prepare for this physically and mentally challenging adventure. Everyone participates voluntarily in order to fulfill a personal promise, seek blessings and a change of fate, overcome individual and team challenges, and contribute to the preservation of this ancient ritual practiced by the ancient Mayans beginning more than a thousand years ago.
We arrived at Xcaret Park in the wee dark hours of the morning to observe this Sacred Mayan Journey. We watched in awe the authentic rituals performed through song and dance and we watched the oarsmen arrive ecstatic for their impending journey. At the break of dawn, the authentic hand carved canoes filled-up with oarsmen who were filled hope, wishes and dreams as they embarked on their journey to the open sea headed to Cozumel to seek the blessings of the Goddess Ixchel.
On the second day of the ceremony, we joined the friends and families of the oarsmen in anticipation of the return from their life changing journey. The arrival of the oarsmen was met with love, joy, celebration and many tears. You can feel the pride, elation, sense of accomplishment and emotional out pouring of the oarsman and their families after completing this journey.
I have honestly never witnessed anything like this in my life. It was absolutely INCREDIBLE!! I was filled up with unexpected emotions and shed a few tears in honor of being lucky enough to observe this life altering experience. Being there was so powerful that words can barely begin to capture the rapture of it all. This is one of those things that you really have to experience in person to truly understand and feel what I am talking about.
Seeing is believing and this is one of those truly magical special travel adventures that you must bear witness to at least once in your life. So, the next time you are thinking about heading to Cancun or Riviera Maya in Mexico, I encourage you to check the Xcaret Website for the dates of this special event and plan your visit in late May so that you too can have the pleasure of drinking in this exquisite, unique Sacred Mayan Ritual. Some of my travel companions were so moved by this compelling experience, that they were talking about moving to the Riviera Maya for 6 months so that they could train for and take part in this amazing life altering ritual, that’s how powerful it was!!
I wanted to thank Xcaret Parks for inviting me to experience this incredible and memorable event. While this was an all expenses paid trip, all opinions and observations are my own.
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