Yesterday December 21st 2011 was winter solstice – the shortest day of the year and at Chaa Creek it was celebrated with a full day of Maya cultural presentations, workshops, and traditional Maya feastings to commemorate the long awaited and much debated Maya Winter Solstice of 2012.
Below is a highlight of the presentation titled “The Great achievements of the Ancient Maya” delivered by Mayanist Joe Awe.
The Maya civilization flourished from 2000 B.C. to about 900 A.D. During the classic period from 250 to 900 A.D., the Maya built impressive temples, created beautiful art from stone and jade, made astonishing discoveries in mathematics and astronomy, and devised the most sophisticated writing system in the Western Hemisphere.
The Ancient Maya used a numerical system based on just three symbols: a dot for one, a bar for five and a shell which represented zero. Using zero and place notation, they were able to write large numbers and perform complex mathematical operations. They also formulated a unique calendar system with which they were able to calculate the lunar cycle as well as predict eclipses and other celestial events with great precision.
The Maya devised an elaborate writing system which was largely deciphered in the 1980s. Prior to this, many archaeologists believed that Maya writing dealt strictly with calendrical and astronomical themes, which went hand-in-hand with the concept that the Maya were peaceful, studious stargazers.
Many scholars agree that the Maya Writings are one of only three writing systems in the ancient world — the other two being Sumerian cuneiform in ancient Mesopotamia and Chinese — to be invented independently.
The one and a half hour presentation provided a robust overview of the many achievements of the ancient Maya. If you are interested in learning more about the Maya civilization, please visit www.mesoamericamaya.com, a website that supports research into ancient Maya history, culture and cosmology, and is active in the dissemination of credible information about this fascinating, enigmatic culture.
Guests also had the opportunity to listen to live Marimba music. The Marimba instrument is a type of xylophone and consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators developed in Guatemala.
The Marimba Band of Succotz Village in Western Belize playing live Marimba music for guests.
Mrs. Maria, a Maya descendant doing hand-made corn tortilla along with a Chaa Creek guest
Chef Mario, the Executive Chef serving sumptuous Maya meals
The Maya Buffet consisted of many delicious Maya cuisines like Kack’ick soup made with local turkey, tamalitos blancos, black beans soup with cilantro, Cassava Buñuelos (dumplings of fresh cassava served with a citrus syrup), Maya Farm Garden Salad (using fresh vegetables from our Maya farm served with house dressing) Guacamole,Vegetable Encurtido salad (assortment of vegetables marinated in olive oil and vinegar, fine herbs and spices) and more.
Next year, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to join the Maya people – and the world – in celebrating the Winter Solstice of 2012 in the Maya Heartland of Belize during December 15 to 22, 2012. Go to to find out how you can take advantage of this very special opportunity to learn about ancient and contemporary Maya culture and civilisation, including customs, folklore, music, art, cosmology, healing and medicinal plants, sacred rituals, philosophies, farming techniques and methods of food preparation including the cultivation, preparation and serving of cacao.