Sunday, May 20, 2012 5:00 AM
The 6th Annual Travesia Sagrada at Xcaret
The Sacred Mayan Journey or Travesia Sagrada Maya, is recreated each year and is one of the
Riviera Maya's most beloved events. It is a great honor to be
chosen to take part in this beautiful celebration. The lucky men and women chosen as canoeists train for months in anticipation of this test of endurance. At dawn, the boats and
the canoeists, dressed in traditional garb, leave Xcaret, once called Ppolé, and make the long and
arduous crossing to the island of Cozumel, a trip that takes these small
crafts over 6 hours. The following day, the participants paddle back to the ancient port city of Xaman Ha, known today as Playa del Carmen.
Thousands of years ago, people came from all across the Mundo Maya every Spring to order to worship Ixchel. Ixchel is well known as the Goddess of fertility but she was also believed to control general health, water and agriculture. The ancient Maya honored Ixchel in order to bring rain for crops and ensure a bountiful harvest for the year.
One of the special attractions enjoyed by the participants and invitees of the annual Travesia Sagrada at Xcaret is the traditional municipal market lovingly recreated by ancestors of the ancient Maya still living in this region. The public markets of the Maya were created for the use of all the inhabitants from all socio-economic classes. Most commonly traded were products created from natural materials of the region such as coconuts, seeds, thorns, shells and carved bones and gourds. Rare and desirable items such as colorful feathers, jewelery, jade and mirrors were exclusively traded by the upper classes.
Upon entering, guests trade in their pesos for small cloth sacks filled with cacao which they must use for currency to purchase the artifacts, crafts, food and drink and other items offered in the market. I had a great time checking out all the stalls and the various goods for sale. A haze of smoldering copal hung in the air adding to the atmosphere. Attendees lines up to try tortillas made fresh over the fire, tamales and warm atole. Guests could get up close and personal with animals indigenous to the region and have their faces painted with traditional designs and dyes.
Once the sun set, we all took our seats on the shores around Xcaret's Bahia Dos Playas to enjoy the inaugural dedication and the following show performed by some of the park's talented actors and dancers. This was the only event I was able to attend this year and from my location it was difficult to capture on film the majesty of this presentation so please click through to see an amazing album of photos from Del Sol Photography and Xcaret covering the event.