Spring Equinox at Chichén Itzá
It is only at the equinox that a stunning piece of Maya architectural genius becomes apparent. The side of the steps were fashioned in such a manner that, when the sun shines on them in a certain way, the feathered serpent God, Kukulkan, can be clearly seen. He is picked out in light and shade, with his snake-like back undulating down the steps. This can only be seen at dawn on the equinox.
Thousands traditionally congregate at the base of El Castillo (aka the Temple of Kukulkan) to witness this. Many will have been there all night, in a vigil, waiting. They are not all Mexicans. In fact, the vast majority are spiritual tourists, who have come to join their Mexican brothers and sisters, in this awe-inspiring event.
Kukulkan arrives to raptuous cheers; though many stand in silent meditation. All are allowing the calm, positive energy of the moment to penetrate their spirits. Traditional dancing and music soon turns the religious into a fiesta, as such things often do in Mexico.
Meanwhile, NTD TV have reported upon the events in Teotihuacan, near Mexico City: 'Thousands Flock to Mexico's "Pyramid of the Sun" to Welcome Spring Equinox'.
The Spring (or Vernal) Equinox occurs when day and night are exactly equal in length; there are twelve hours between sunset and dawn. The Earth, as it orbits around the sun, also rocks back and forth on its pole. (Imagine a spinning top, swaying as it spins.) During Winter Solstice (mid December) our side of the planet is tipped away from the sun (less light/heat = winter); during Summer Solstice (mid June) the hemisphere is tipped towards the sun (more light/heat = summer). During the equinoxes, we are at the mid-point between the two (equal light/heat = spring and autumn).
Spring Equinox was important to the ancient tribes of Mexico. It was the time when they planted their crops, safe in the knowledge that winter was finally over. Autumn Equinox was the signal that everything should be harvested, before it was ruined. This is why so much of the architecture incorporates features that tell onlookers when the equinoxes are occurring.
An estimated 460,000 visitors arrived at twelve of Mexico's ancient monuments, at dawn on March 21st, 2011. The actual equinox had occurred late the night before, but it was the dawn sun that would provide the first visible sign of it, without the aid of hi-tech equipment.
Spring Equinox at Teotihuacan
This is obviously an annual event, so everyone was ready for it. Representatives from the emergency services and National Anthropology and History Institute (INAH) meet months in advance, in order to co-ordinate their roles, so that the crowds can be safely managed. For example, so many people arrived at Teotihuacan, this year, that each had to queue for three hours, in order to spend just ten minutes at the summit of the Pyramid of the Sun. This had been anticipated and the human resources were on hand to ensure that this happened in good cheer.
However, there is concern that so many visitors are placing an unusual strain upon the monuments themselves. This year, for the first time, INAH issued rules, such as the prohibition of food, alcohol, barbecues, backpacks, chairs, umbrellas or pet in the vicinity of the ruins.
Meanwhile, local Pagan groups privately agreed not to climb upon those pyramids, which are open to the public. Antonio Vazquez, a Brujo Mayor (High Priest/Chief Witch), released a statement that his coven would be performing their ceremony near to the Pyramid of the Sun, rather than on it.
Spring Equinox at Tulum
The Spring Equinox celebrations are huge in Mexico. Many of those participating will either wear tradition costumes, based around Aztec or Maya historical designs, or else will don white outfits. The belief is that white absorbs the sun's enriching energies during this ethereal, beautiful time. It certainly feels very special to participate in such a gathering.
Various tours, to suit every wallet or time-frame, to the most famous of all the Maya ruins.
Tulum & Xel-Ha All Inclusive
Combine Maya history with natural beauty! Tour the Tulúm ruins, then swim in the Xel Ha natural aquarium.