The Uaxactún Equinox

The next major event in the Maya sacred calendar (photo by Thor Janson)

The next major event in the Maya sacred calendar

The kickoff for the 2012 cosmic events was the solstice party at the ancient ruins of Tikal. In attendance were dozens of Maya shaman dressed in ceremonial attire soberly attending to their prayer offerings of copal incense, sacred incantations and song, and the sacrifice of doves.

The next major event in the sacred calendar is the Uaxactún Equinox (the week of March 22). Uaxactún is about an hour’s drive north from Tikal in the heart of the Mayan Rainforest. There will be representatives of Maya tribes from Belize and Mexico, including a contingent of long-maned Lacandón Indians from Chiapas. As well, we have heard that indigenous leaders from throughout the Americas will attend. There will be all-night ceremonies and costumbres at the ruins.

Leading up to the BIG Dec. 21 celebrations there will be numerous other events, including those held on the summer solstice and fall equinox in Uaxactún, Tikal, Iximché, Lake Atitlán and many other sites throughout the Mayan world.

Uaxactún is a small jungle outpost located an hour’s drive north from the visitor’s center of Tikal National Park. It is an unpaved road but the last time I was there in January it was in good condition. You must stop by the Tikal National Park administrative offices to obtain a free pass to drive to Uaxactún.

The town itself is a small settlement surrounded by dense jungle. Its inhabitants work in several local industries, including the gathering of xate palm leaves, which are exported to the U.S. and Europe. Xate is used in floral arrangements and is highly prized for its beauty as well as the fact that it remains green and good looking for 60 days or more.

Other residents of Uaxactún work in sustainable forestry projects, running tourist excursions, operating hotels and restaurants and otherwise catering to the occasional tourists.

For more information visit Maya Archaelogical Sites: Uaxactum.

The Uaxactún Equinox (photo by Thor Janson)

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