"The Spring Equinox has always been a tremendously important event for the Maya of Belize, and with March 20 heralding the last Spring Equinox before the completion of one of humankind’s longest recorded cycles, the 13th Bak’tun of the Maya Long Count, the celebrations take on even greater significance," Chaa Creek owner Lucy Fleming said as she announced the eco resort’s Spring Equinox 2012 activities today.
“We don’t know exactly what the ancient Maya would have planned for the last Spring Equinox before the completion of this 5,126 year Long Count cycle, but there’s no doubt it would have been spectacular. Given the importance of Maya culture at Chaa Creek, it’s only fitting that we do something pretty special ourselves,” she said.
Equinoxes occur when the sun is closest to the celestial equator, with the day and night being of almost equal duration.
“We’re combining knowledge, celebration, Maya feasting and some very interesting activities and presentations to ensure a 2012 Spring Equinox worthy of the attention the ancient Maya gave it. In this way, we’re continuing a lineage that stretches back for thousands of year,” Ms Fleming said.
Equinoxes occur when the sun is closest to the celestial equator, with the day and night being of almost equal duration, and were held sacred by theMaya and other civilisations.
Ms Fleming said the day will begin with a breakfast the Maya would have found familiar centuries ago and still prepare today, with Xocoatl, the original hot chocolate the Maya revere, and fresh corn tortillas, eggs, beans, plantains and other food sourced from Chaa Creek’s Maya Organic Farm.
A morning tour to the ancient Maya temple of Xunantunich will immerse guests in Maya cosmology, astronomy and ritual, including the sacred Maya ball games, and give a firsthand understanding of how the structures, ball courts and ceremonial centres aligned with celestial bodies. “By standing on the same stones Maya shamans conducted ceremonial rites on, you’ll gain deeper insight into what the spring equinox meant and how it was celebrated,” Ms Fleming said.
Lunch will continue to showcase the healthy variety of the Maya diet and prepare guests for an afternoon workshop featuring Dr Rosita Arvigo, who will discuss her thirteen-year apprenticeship with Belize's most famous Maya shaman, Don Elijio Panti, and elaborate on Maya Medicinal Plants, Maya healing practices, and rituals from ancient to modern times.
For dinner guests will take part in an authentic four course Maya feast which Ms Fleming said replicates the meals the Maya elite would have savoured during events such as the Spring Equinox.
“As the first of our four primary celestial events – the Spring and Fall equinoxes, the summer solstice and the pivotal 2012 Winter Solstice that’s going to be magnificent in Belize and especially at Chaa Creek, we’ll be pulling out all stops to create a daylong celebration the ancient Maya would have approved of. We’re all looking forward to something very special this year,” she said.
Ms. Fleming added that additional information on the ancient Maya and Chaa Creek’s 2012 Maya events, activities and observances can be found on the Chaa Creek website.