Tuesday, March 20, 2012 10:41 AM
Celebrating the Vernal Equinox in Playa del Carmen
Every year on March 21st, upwards of 5,000 people from around the world travel to Chichén Itzá to witness the appearance of "Kukulcán". On the afternoon of the Spring Equinox, "Kukulcán" - the Feathered Serpent of the ancient Maya, descends in a glorious display of shadow and light down the great pyramid "El Castillo", connecting with the carved stone snake's head at the foot of the balustrade. The culture of the ancient Maya is solar in origin and closely follows the solstices and
equinoxes. The Maya built profound
and complex structures, utilizing advanced geometry and astronomy, mapping the natural cycles of the earth and the heavens. This event is the most dramatic display of ancient astronomical knowledge
encoded into the architecture of any known Mayan site and is said to have signaled the most auspicious time to plant corn, the most important food staple of the Maya.
In Playa del Carmen, a slightly smaller Vernal Equinox celebration takes place on the ruins on the shores of the Caribbean in Playacar, welcoming spring to the Riviera Maya. Each year the Ak Lu'um International School community comes together to recognize and celebrate the rites of Spring and the significance of this seasonal transition in ourselves and our daily routines. Teachers, parents and friends, clad all in white, encircle the children, take hands and welcome the regeneration and the rebirth of the season. With the scent of copal lingering in the morning air, the spirits are summoned with the traditional conch shell. Offerings are made to tiny alters at the four points of the compass and simple songs are sung in celebration. In the end, the children unfurl long golden banners, revealing a giant sunburst pointed toward the heavens.
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