May 22-24

After six months of arduous dawn training sessions, more than 350 oarsmen from Cancún, Xcaret, Xel-Há and Cozumel are ready to embark on the 2014 Sacred Mayan Journey. They will be following the sea route taken by ancient pilgrims who traveled to the sacred island of Cozumel (Kuzamil) to worship at the shrine of Ixchel. The Mayan goddess of fertility, childbirth and the moon, Ixchel controlled the tides and was the patron of fishing, painting and weaving.

This is the eighth year of the Sacred Mayan Journey, which evokes a pre-Hispanic pilgrimage and rituals from the Late Post-Classic period of Mayan history (A.D. 1250-1519). The event originated as an initiative from the Experiencias Xcaret group to restore an ancient tradition and has been embraced by the people of the Mexican Caribbean.

Xcaret is the location of the ancient port of Polé, a trade center and the departure point for pilgrimages to Cozumel.

The Sacred Mayan Journey begins the night of May 22 in Xcaret Park with the representation of the Kii’wik or Mayan Market and rituals in honor of Ixchel.

At dawn on May 23, after a blessing from the priests, the wooden canoes depart for Cozumel. They arrive at the island’s Chankanaab Park at 1 p.m. and the pilgrims make their way to the shrine of Ixchel. The following day they return to the mainland and are greeted in Polé with great jubilation.

If you will be in Cancún or the Riviera Maya in May and would like to witness the Sacred Mayan Journey contact Thomas More Travel,