For thousands of years, the ancient Mayans would pay respects and prayer to the goddess of fertility, Ixchel. Every year, they would take off from the Polé market (known today as Xcaret), and row all the way to Kuzamil (or the Island of Cozumel, as it’s known nowadays). Brave oarsmen and women would row in Mayan canoes facing the wild Caribbean ocean, risking their lives, to bring offerings to Ixchel and be granted favors in return.
As the years went by and the Mayan civilization slowly disappeared, many of its traditions disappeared with it. However, the Xcaret Park, which is located right where the market was, decided to continue commemorating the old traditions of the Mayans by reliving this sacred and spiritual ritual. For the past nine years, the Travesia Sagrada Maya (or Sacred Mayan Journey) has seen hundreds of modern oarsmen and women bravely cross the ocean and pay tribute to Ixchel and the old civilization we’ve all come to know and love.
(Related: Read more about the history of Travesia Sagrada Maya here.)
Of course, Top Mexico Real Estate did not want to miss out on the opportunity of being part of this, so they chose one brave participant from the Marketing office to take part in this journey. Julio Salinas, designer, took a step forward and volunteered himself for this spiritual pilgrimage that will change his life forever.
“I decided to participate because I had the chance to see this great event in 2014, and I was motivated by the drive and emotion that the participants delivered that year, and the passion with which they were willing to relive the history and tradition”, shared Julio. And rightly so; training sessions have been ongoing for six months, where they have worked “resistance, concentration, swimming, sailing, and we went through different filters to prove that we were ready to achieve the goal”, he said.
Six months of physical and mental preparation – the journey can take five hours to complete, depending on the wind and ocean’s conditions of the day. The journey does not end in Cozumel. Here, they rest for the night after a spiritual welcome ceremony, and take off the following morning to return to Xcaret. Amongst the things that they have learned, Julio emphasizes on the importance of keeping these traditions alive. These are traditions that “have lost strength, language, and communication through time”.
Teamwork is another key element in this journey. While spiritually the pilgrimage might be personal and unique to each individual, the physical journey to the island of Cozumel, and back, relies on teamwork. Ten oarsmen ride in each canoe, and they are unable to finish if anyone of the gives up. “The most important thing is to learn from your team and to support it. While we trained, motivation and communication became very important elements”.
While the tradition is very rooted to Mexico, it is not only a journey where Mexicans can participate. Over time, more and more foreigners have decided to be part of a tradition that was very important to the ancient Mayans. Many travelers or people who have moved to the Riviera Maya indefinitely from other countries want to be involved in everything to make them understand the history and culture of this beautiful country. Julio finds it especially joyful to see that foreigners are taking part. “It’s nice to see that not only Mexicans are interested in being part of the Journey, as many foreigners […] have joined this party full of tradition and history”.
You can be part of the oarsmen’s journey by joining them in the farewell ceremony on Friday 22nd of May, at 6am in Xcaret. If you are located in Cozumel, you can receive them around 1 or 2pm in Chankanaab Park and participate in the Sacred Mayan Journey Dances for the Lady of the Moon (Ixchel). You may also bid them farewell and a safe journey back to Polé the following morning (May 23rd) at 9am. For those located in Playa del Carmen, you can watch the sacred Mayan celebration and receive the brave oarsmen at Xcaret around 1pm, as well as enjoy all that the park has to offer.
“The idea of completing the journey makes me feel great emotion and great satisfaction, because it’s been a long preparation”, Julio shares. As part of our team, it makes us feel great satisfaction, as well! Every participant of the Journey will return changed and with great spiritual stories to tell of their sacred pilgrimage to see Ixchel.
Top Mexico Real Estate is the leading real estate website in the Riviera Maya. If you are looking to be part of the land that has seen thousands of traditions born, and relived, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Top Buyer’s Representatives who will gladly help you in your personal journey to find the perfect paradise home.
And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…
We Make It Happen!