This is the tale of forbidden love between a brave conquistador, Bernard, and a beautiful Mayan princess, Lol Ha. The full story is on Sandos Caracols website and I recommend you use this link to read it before you continue on with my photos. Love Story
Even if a person didn’t know the story, the artistry of the dancing, the elaborate Mayan costumes and the profession polish of the performances are worth watching. I only wish I’d been able to capture better quality shots. Unfortunately, my little camera doesn’t perform well with action or in darkness, so the pictures are what they are. Hopefully, they can still convey, at least partially, the excellence of these ceremonies.
The story begins on the beach with the villagers of Xcalacoco awaiting the arrival of the Mayan rowers from Cozumel. It’s a time to celebrate with music and dance, for the travelers will return with food and supplies.
When the rowers appear with a nearly drowned stranger, the villagers realize this man is different from them. They’ve never seen anyone with such white skin and unusual clothing, and they become frightened and suspicious.
The village leader, the Chaman, decides to offer the man as a sacrifice to the goddess Itxel.
Feeling a strong connection to the foreigner, the Chaman’s princess daughter, Lol Ha, begs mercy for his life.
Out of love for his daughter, the Chaman agrees to spare him. As Lol Ha nurses the conquistador back to health, they begin to fall in love.
The Ceremony by the Sacred Cenote
From that time on, the princess and the conquistador meet in secret every night at the cenote, forging a love so strong it could not be broken.
One night, the Chaman sees them together and he orders them captured. His rage is so great, he calls on the gods to put them both to death in an offering to Chaac, the Mayan god of rain. The princess is thrown into the cenote to drown, while the injured conquistador manages to escape to the jungle.
The messengers to the gods are angry that the Chaman would kill his only daughter and they confront him, condemning him to a lifetime of suffering.
Unbeknownst to the Chaman, the conquistador and the princess are reunited when Bernard returns to the cenote to discover Lol Ha has survived.
The Fire of Life
As time passes, reason returns to the Chaman’s mind, and he grows repentant for having killed his daughter. Grief-stricken, he asks the villagers to help him recreate the Fire of Life ceremony so his soul can find peace.
As part of the ritual, they burn their own skin in sacrifice to resurrect the Lord of Darkness.
The Chaman calls, again and again, for the soul of his daughter.
Off in the distance, two people, holding hands, walk slowly toward the sacred circle. The princess and her conquistador appear from the darkness, and because the Chaman is happy to have his daughter back, he accepts Bernard into his family. And there is much celebrating.