A legacy that goes beyond time
Keeping alive the sacred fire of tradition
The brave oarsmen decided to embark on a journey that has led them to not only prepare physically and emotionally for 6 months, but to reconnect with themselves at sea. Each of the 353 oarsmen had a different reason to take on this challenge, a person to whom they wanted to dedicate this trip and especially a reason to keep going.
The oarsmen learned to work as a team and have found in their fellow oarsmen a family to cross the sea and reach Cozumel. Beyond the great physical challenge, the oarsmen are keeping alive an ancient tradition along with the volunteers, dancers and staff that put their passion into what they do. These traditions are now being shared with friends, siblings, and in some cases, with their children, extending the seed of the Sacred Mayan Journey to future generations.
The tradition of the Sacred Mayan Journey begins the day before the crossing to the island of Kuzamil. The journey back to the past begins in Polé, where among the smell of copal, the habitants gather to exchange their goods. Foods such as fruits, fish, honey, corn and spices and even crafts like necklaces and gourds are sold. Polé is wrapped in a colorful celebration and as night falls, dancers rejoice to the beat of the drums and flutes, all to ask Ix Chel to guide the heart of the oarsmen.
The long awaited day arrived and with dawn, the messengers of the corn headed for the island of the swallows in search of the message from the goddess Ix Chel. Each warrior who struck his oar into the sea made the journey into a feat. After many hours under the sun, the oarsmen bravely crossed Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, and reached Kuzamil. The sound of the snail announced their arrival and with the sound of tunkules, the people of Kuzamil began to dance. When the darkness reached the night, the goddess Ixchebelyax appeared to bless her people and light the fire of creation.
The fire is blazing with the new sun, a new day began, and the time to take the message of Ix Chel back to Polé has arrived. The inhabitants of the island gathered to bid farewell to the oarsmen, who again, brazed to face the sea but this time protected by the light threads woven upon them by Ix Chel.
The oarsmen arrived to Polé and they brought the message of the ignited fire, one that must remain turned on as it represents warmth and food. Now, all the people carry in their hearts the legacy of Ix Chel and venerate the sacred fire that burns in Xamanhá, Polé and Kuzamil, the three stones of fire.