The Maya civilization blossomed in the southeast of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and parts of Honduras and El Salvador between the years 250–900 AD. The Maya were, in many experts’ view the most brilliant civilization of pre-Hispanic America. Their knowledge of astronomy, mathematics and astrology, amaze scholars until this day. The Mayan heritage can be appreciated in the many temples complexes in the Yucatan peninsula.
Religion was present in every facet of Maya life. They believed in predestination and followed a complex astrology. To win the gods’ favours they carried out elaborate rituals involving dances, feasts and sacrifices. One of the most mystical and beautiful rituals that was carried out was no doubt the sacred journey from Xcaret to Cozumel island. The Mayan word for Cozumel is Cuzamil which means ‘Island of the Swallows’.
For the Maya the sea was a two-faced authority. On the one hand the sea represented food and commerce. On the other hand the sea was seen as a dangerous place and an entrance to the underworld ‘Xibalbá’. The sacred journey was performed to make requests to the goddess Ixchel (goddess of midwifery and medicine). In the early 16th century, Maya women seeking to ensure a fruitful marriage would travel to the sanctuary of Ixchel on the island of Cozumel, the most important place of pilgrimage after Chichén Itza. With the arrival of the Spanish this rite disappeared.
The journey today……
This ritual of Mayan navigation was revived in the past decade, with a strict adherence to historical clothing, rituals, dance, music, gifts and canoes. This unique adventure and unrivalled experience takes place in May and is open to the general public. Currently there are over three hundred participants in the Sacred Journey every year. Find out more about this topic on www.travesiasagradamaya.com.mx
Being born and raised on the island of Cozumel I do feel like it is a very sacred place, which warms your heart and if you leave, it always calls you back. I am happy to see that so many people from across the globe get to see this beautiful place, like our dancing chefs that visit us everyday. This is why I wanted to share with you the history of the place that I very proudly call ‘home’.
Dancing Chef Amanda.
P.S And because I love food, I also wanted to share with you a quick vegetarian recipe that’s perfect for a rushed day.
Three-layer Quesadilla (1 portion)
2 flour or corn tortillas
Grated cheese of your preference
Place grated cheese on top of 1 tortilla and cover with the other tortilla.
Heat a skillet (without oil or butter) or ‘comal’ and place the quesadilla inside. Heat on both sides until the cheese has melted.
Pour homemade red salsa on top and a spoon full of sour cream.
And all ready to go! Quick, easy and delicious!!!! OLE!!!!!!!!