Remember when the world was coming to an end a couple of years ago? The end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012, sparked doomsday headlines around the globe. The world didn’t fall apart, of course – it was simply the end of the 13th and last baktun (cycle) in the 5,126-year Mayan calendar, and the start of the next one.
Still, all that publicity – for instance, TV viewers from Boston to Botswana saw 55,000 people praying at the supposed apocalypse’s ground zero at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza – helped gain recognition for an ancient culture that came up with astronomical marvels while Europeans were still living in caves.
Coincidentally (or perhaps not so coincidentally) the December date marked one of the two annual “solstices” (the longest and shortest days of the year in terms of daylight hours). In Mexico, the summer solstice comes on the longest day, typically in June.
Honoring this year’s summer solstice, when the sun will be at its highest point in the sky, will be a special three-day ceremony at the all-inclusive Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort on eastern Mexico’s Riviera Maya. On June 22, hotel guests, staffers and local folks from a nearby Mayan village will kick off the event with “a day of interactive spiritual and cultural activities.”
Called “The Xcalacoco Experience” (pronounced Shka-la-koko, the name of a Mayan community once located on the site of the resort), the first day’s events will include a purification ceremony, a fiesta with games and dancing, a cooking class, kite flying and a movie based on the “Popol Vuh” (the Mayan holy book).
Featured on the second day will be a theatrical interpretation of a Mayan legend telling the tragic tale of two lovers -- a foreigner and a beautiful Mayan princess – separated by the princess’ father, the village shaman (the top priest).
On the third day the crowd will head out to a clearing in the jungle to witness a “Fire of Life” ceremony (the Mayan ritual of darkness and fire).
Also featured over the three-day celebration will be activities such as playing an ancient Mayan ball game, learning jungle survival skills, meditating by a cenote (sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock) and much more.
To help spotlight the event, Sandos Caracol is offering more than a 40 percent discount for stays on the property from June 15 through June 30, 2014. All-inclusive nightly room rates start at $182 per person based on double occupancy.
Located on a powdery white beach edging the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the Sandos resort offers 738 rooms in an eco-ambiance of jungles filled with over 60 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.